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Brave and Bold by Horatio Alger, Jr.

Part 4 out of 4

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friendship, even if he desired mine, as I am sure he does not."

Captain Evans was puzzled by this explanation, which threw very little
light upon the subject, and made no further efforts to bring the two

Time passed, and whatever might be Ben Haley's feelings, he abstained
from any attempt to injure him. Robert's suspicions were lulled to
sleep, and he ceased to be as vigilant and watchful as he had been.

His frank, familiar manner made him a favorite on shipboard. He had a
friendly word for all the sailors, which was appreciated, for it was
known that he was the _protg_ of the owner. He was supposed by some to
be a relation, or, at any rate, a near connection, and so was treated
with unusual respect. All the sailors had a kind word for him, and many
were the praises which he received in the forecastle.

Among those most devoted to him was a boy of fourteen, Frank Price, who
had sailed in the capacity of cabin-boy. The poor boy was very seasick
at first, and Captain Evans had been indulgent, and excused him from
duty until he got better. He was not sturdy enough for the life upon
which he had entered, and would gladly have found himself again in the
comfortable home which a mistaken impulse had led him to exchange for
the sea.

With this boy, Robert, who was of about the same age, struck up a
friendship, which was returned twofold by Frank, whose heart, naturally
warm, was easily won by kindness.



The voyage was more than half completed, and nothing of importance had
occurred to mark it. But at this time, Captain Evans fell sick. His
sickness proved to be a fever, and was very severe. The surgeon was in
constant attendance, but the malady baffled all his skill. At the end of
seven days, it terminated fatally, to the great grief of all on board,
with whom the good-natured captain was very popular. There was one
exception, however, to the general grief. It is an ill wind that blows
good to no one, and Ben Haley did not lament much for an event which
promoted him to the command of the vessel. Of course, he did not show
this feeling publicly, but in secret his heart bounded with exultation
at the thought that he was, for the time, master of the ship and all on
board. He was not slow in asserting his new position. Five minutes after
the captain breathed his last, one of the sailors approached him, and
asked for orders, addressing him as "Mr. Haley."

"Captain Haley!" roared the new commander. "If you don't know my
position on board this ship, it's time you found it out!"

"Ay, ay, sir," stammered the sailor, taken aback at his unexpected

Robert mourned sincerely at the death of Captain Evans, by whom he had
always been treated with the utmost kindness. Even had he not been
influenced by such a feeling, he would have regarded with apprehension
the elevation to the command of one whom he well knew to be actuated by
a feeling of enmity to himself. He resolved to be as prudent as
possible, and avoid, as far as he could, any altercation with Haley. But
the latter was determined, now that he had reached the command, to pick
a quarrel with our hero, and began to cast about for a fitting occasion.

Now that Captain Evans was dead, Robert spent as much time as the
latter's duties would permit with Frank Price. The boys held long and
confidential conversations together, imparting to each other their
respective hopes and wishes. Haley observed their intimacy and mutual
attachment, and, unable to assert his authority over Robert, who was a
passenger, determined to strike at him through his friend. His
determination was strengthened by a conversation which he overheard
between the boys when they supposed him beyond earshot.

"I wish Captain Evans were alive," said Frank. "I liked him, and I don't
like Captain Haley."

"Captain Evans was an excellent man," said Robert.

"He knew how to treat a fellow," said Frank. "As long as he saw us doing
our best, he was easy with us. Captain Haley is a tyrant."

"Be careful what you say, Frank," said Robert. "It isn't safe to say
much about the officers."

"I wouldn't say anything, except to you. You are my friend."

"I am your true friend, Frank, and I don't want you to get into any

"I am sure you don't like the captain any better than I do."

"I don't like the captain, for more reasons than I can tell you; but I
shall keep quiet, as long as I am on board this ship."

"Are you going back with us?"

"I don't know. It will depend upon circumstances. I don't think I shall,
though I might have done so had Captain Evans remained in command."

"I wish I could leave it, and stay with you."

"I wish you could, Frank. Perhaps you can."

"I will try."

Haley overheard the last part of this conversation. He took particular
notice of Robert's remark that he would keep quiet as long as he
remained on board the ship, and inferred that on arrival at the destined
port our hero would expose all he knew about him. This made him uneasy,
for it would injure, if not destroy, his prospect of remaining in
command of the _Argonaut_. He resented also the dislike which Robert had
cautiously expressed, and the similar feeling cherished by the
cabin-boy. He had half a mind to break in upon their conversation on the
spot; but, after a moment's thought, walked away, his neighborhood
unsuspected by the two boys.

"They shall both rue their impudence," he muttered. "They shall find out
that they cannot insult me with impunity."

The next day, when both boys were on deck, Captain Haley harshly ordered
Frank to attend to a certain duty which he had already performed.

"I have done so, sir," said Frank, in a respectful tone.

"None of your impudence, you young rascal!" roared the captain, lashing
himself into a rage.

Frank looked up into his face in astonishment, unable to account for so
violent an outbreak.

"What do you mean by looking me in the face in that impudent manner?"
demanded Captain Haley, furiously.

"I didn't mean to be impudent, Captain Haley," said Frank. "What have I

"What have you done? You, a cabin-boy, have dared to insult your
captain, and, by heavens, you shall rue it! Strip off your jacket."

Frank turned pale. He knew what this order meant. Public floggings were
sometimes administered on shipboard, but, under the command of Captain
Evans, nothing of the kind had taken place.

Robert, who had heard the whole, listened, with unmeasured indignation,
to this wanton abuse on the part of Captain Haley. His eyes flashed, and
his youthful form dilated with righteous indignation.

Robert was not the only one who witnessed with indignation the captain's
brutality. Such of the sailors as happened to be on deck shared his
feelings. Haley, looking about him, caught the look with which Robert
regarded him, and triumphed inwardly that he had found a way to chafe

"What have you got to say about it?" he demanded, addressing our hero,
with a sneer.

"Since you have asked my opinion," said Robert, boldly, "I will express
it. Frank Price has not been guilty of any impudence, and deserves no

This was a bold speech to be made by a boy to a captain on his own deck,
and the sailors who heard it inwardly applauded the pluck of the boy who
uttered it.

"What do you mean by that, sir?" exclaimed Haley, his eyes lighting up
fiercely, as he strode to the spot where Robert stood, and frowned upon
him, menacingly.

"You asked my opinion, and I gave it," said Robert, not flinching.

"I have a great mind to have you flogged, too!" said Haley.

"I am not one of your crew, Captain Haley," said Robert, coolly; "and
you have no right to lay a hand on me."

"What is to prevent me, I should like to know?"

"I am here as a passenger, and a friend of the owner of this vessel. If
I receive any ill-treatment, it shall be reported to him."

If the sailors had dared, they would have applauded the stripling who,
undaunted by the menacing attitude of the captain, faced him boldly and
fearlessly. Haley would gladly have knocked him down, but there was
something in the resolute mien of his young passenger that made him
pause. He knew that he would keep his word, and that, with such
representations as he might make, he would stand no further chance of
being employed by Mr. Morgan.

"I have an account to settle with you, boy," he said; "and the
settlement will not long be delayed. When a passenger tries to incite
mutiny, he forfeits his privileges as a passenger."

"Who has done this, Captain Haley?"

"You have done it."

"I deny it," said Robert.

"Your denial is worth nothing. I have a right to throw you into irons,
and may yet do it. At present I have other business in hand."

He left Robert, and walked back to Frank Price, who, not having Robert's
courage, had been a terrified listener to the colloquy between him and
the captain.

"Now, boy," he said, harshly, "I will give you a lesson that you shall
remember to the latest day of your life. Bring me the cat."

The barbarous cat, as it was called, once in use on our ships, was
brought, and Captain Haley signaled to one of the sailors to approach.

"Bates," he said, in a tone of authority, "give that boy a dozen

Bates was a stout sailor, rough in appearance, but with a warm and
kindly heart. He had a boy of his own at home, about the age of Frank
Price, and his heart had warmed to the boy whose position he felt to be
far from an enviable one.

The task now imposed upon him was a most distasteful and unwelcome one.
He was a good sailor, and aimed on all occasions to show proper
obedience to the commands of his officers, but now he could not.

"Captain Haley," he said, not stirring from his position, "I hope you
will excuse me."

"Is this mutiny?" roared the captain.

"No, Captain Haley. I always mean to do my duty on board ship."

"I have told you to flog this boy!"

"I can't do it, Captain Haley. I have a boy of my own about the size of
that lad there, and, if I struck him, I'd think it was my own boy that
stood in his place."

This unexpected opposition excited the fierce resentment of the captain.
He felt that a crisis had come, and he was determined to be obeyed.

"Unless you do as I bid you, I will keep you in irons for the rest of
the voyage!"

"You are the captain of this ship, and can throw me in irons, if you
like," said Bates, with an air of dignity despite his tarred hands and
sailor jacket. "I have refused to do no duty that belongs to me. When I
signed my name to the ship's papers, I did not agree to flog boys."

"Put him in irons!" roared the captain, incensed. "We will see who is
captain of this ship!"

The mandate was obeyed, and Bates was lodged in the forecastle, securely

The captain himself seized the cat, and was about to apply it to the
luckless cabin-boy, when a terrible blast, springing up in an instant,
as it were, struck the ship, almost throwing it upon its side. There was
no time for punishment now. The safety of the ship required instant
action, and Frank Price was permitted to replace his jacket without
having received a blow.



The storm which commenced so suddenly was one of great violence. It
required all the captain's seamanship, and the efforts of all the crew,
to withstand it. However reluctant to do it, Captain Haley was forced to
release Bates from his irons, and order him to duty. The latter worked
energetically, and showed that he did not intend to shirk any part of
his duties as seaman. But the result of the storm was that the vessel
was driven out of her course, and her rigging suffered considerable
injury. The wind blew all night. Toward morning it abated, and, as the
morning light broke, the lookout described a small island distant about
a league.

The captain looked at it through his glass, and then examined the chart.

"I can't make out what island that is," he said.

"It is not large enough," suggested the mate, "to find a place on the

"Perhaps it is as you say," said Captain Haley, thoughtfully. "I have a
mind to go on shore and explore it. There may be some fresh fruits that
will vary our diet."

This plan was carried out. A boat was got ready, and the captain got in,
with four sailors to row.

Just as he was about to descend into the boat, he turned to Robert, who
was looking curiously toward land, and said:

"Rushton, would you like to go with us?"

It was precisely what Robert wanted. He had a boy's love of adventure,
and the thought of exploring an island, perhaps hitherto unknown, struck
his fancy, and he eagerly accepted the invitation.

"Jump in, then," said Haley, striving to appear indifferent; but there
was a gleam of exultation in his eye, which he took care to conceal from
the unsuspecting boy.

Swiftly the boat sped through the waters, pulled by the strong arms of
four stout sailors, and, reaching the island, was drawn into a little
cove, which seemed made for it.

"Now for an exploring expedition," said the captain. "Boys," addressing
the sailors, "remain near the boat. I will soon be back. Rushton," he
said, turning to our hero, "go where you like, but be back in an hour."

"Yes, sir," answered Robert.

Had it been Captain Evans, instead of Captain Haley, he would have
proposed to join him; but, knowing what he did of the latter, he
preferred his own company.

The island was about five miles in circumference. Near the shore, it was
bare of vegetation, but further inland there were numerous trees, some
producing fruit. After some weeks of the monotonous life on shipboard,
Robert enjoyed pressing the solid earth once more. Besides, this was the
first foreign shore his foot had ever trodden. The thought that he was
thousands of miles away from home, and that, possibly, the land upon
which he now walked had never before been trodden by a civilized foot,
filled him with a sense of excitement and exhilaration.

"What would mother say if she should see me now?" he thought. "What a
wonderful chance it would be if my father had been wafted in his boat to
this island, and I should come upon him unexpectedly!"

It was very improbable, but Robert thought enough of it to look about
him carefully. But everywhere the land seemed to be virgin, without
other inhabitants than the birds of strange plumage and note, which sang
in the branches of the trees.

"I don't believe any one ever lived here," thought Robert.

It struck him that he should like to live upon the island a week, if he
could be sure of being taken off at the end of that time. The cool
breezes from the ocean swept over the little island, and made it
delightfully cool at morning and evening, though hot in the middle of
the day.

Robert sauntered along till he came to a little valley. He descended the
slope, and sat down in the shade of a broad-leaved tree. The grass
beneath him made a soft couch, and he felt that he should enjoy lying
there the rest of the day. But his time was limited. The captain had
told him to be back in an hour, and he felt that it was time for him to
be stirring.

"I shall not have time to go any further," he reflected. "I must be
getting back to the boat."

As this occurred to him, he rose to his feet, and, looking up, he
started a little at seeing the captain himself descending the slope.

"Well, Robert," said Captain Haley, "how do you like the island?"

"Very much, indeed," said our hero. "It seems pleasant to be on land
after being on shipboard so many weeks."

"Quite true. This is a beautiful place you have found."

"I was resting under this tree, listening to the birds, but I felt
afraid I should not be back to the boat in time, and was just starting
to return."

"I think we can overstay our time a little," said Haley. "They won't go
back without me, I reckon," he added, with a laugh.

Robert was nothing loth to stay, and resumed his place on the grass. The
captain threw himself on the grass beside him.

"I suppose you have read 'Robinson Crusoe?'" he said.

"Oh, yes; more than once."

"I wonder how it would seem to live on such an island as this?"

"I should like it very well," said Robert; "that is, if I could go off
at any time. I was just thinking of it when you come up."

"Were you?" asked the captain, showing his teeth in an unpleasant smile,
which, however, Robert did not see. "You think you would like it?"

"Yes, sir."

"I am glad of that."

"Why?" asked Robert, turning round and looking his companion in the

"Because," said Haley, changing his tone, "I am going to give you a
chance to try it."

Robert sprang to his feet in instant alarm, but too late. Haley had
grasped him by the shoulder, and in his grasp the boy's strength was

"What are you going to do?" asked Robert, with fearful foreboding.

"Wait a minute and you will see!"

The captain had drawn a stout cord, brought for the purpose, from his
pocket, and, dragging Robert to a tree, tied him securely to the trunk.
The terrible fate destined for him was presented vividly to the
imagination of our hero; and, brave as he was, it almost unmanned him.
Finding his struggles useless, he resorted to expostulation.

"I am sure you cannot mean this, Captain Haley!" he said. "You won't
leave me to perish miserably on this island?"

"Won't I?" returned the captain, with an evil light in his eyes. "Why
won't I?"

"Surely, you will not be so inhuman?"

"Look here, boy," said the captain, "you needn't try to come any of your
high-flown notions about humanity over me. I owe you a debt, and, by
Heaven! I'm going to pay it! You didn't think much of humanity when you
wounded me."

"I couldn't help it," said Robert. "I didn't want to hurt you. I only
wanted to protect your uncle."

"That's all very well; but, when you interfered in a family quarrel, you
meddled with what did not concern you. Besides, you have been inciting
my crew to mutiny."

"I have not done so," said Robert.

"I overheard you the other night giving some of your precious advice to
my cabin-boy. Besides, you had the impudence to interfere with me in a
matter of discipline."

"Frank Price deserved no punishment."

"That is for me to decide. When you dared to be impudent to me on my own
deck, I swore to be revenged, and the time has come sooner than I

"Captain Haley," said Robert, "in all that I have done I have tried to
do right. If I have done wrong, it was because I erred in judgment. If
you will let me go, I will promise to say nothing of the attempt you
make to keep me here."

"You are very kind," sneered the captain; "but I mean to take care of
that myself. You may make all the complaints you like after I have left
you here."

"There is One who will hear me," said Robert. "I shall not be wholly
without friends."

"Who do you mean?"

"God!" said Robert, solemnly.

"Rubbish!" retorted Haley, contemptuously.

"I shall not despair while I have Him to appeal to."

"Just as you like," said the captain, shrugging his shoulders. "You are
welcome to all the comfort you can find in your present situation."

By this time, Robert was bound to the trunk of the tree by a cord, which
passed around his waist. In addition to this Haley tied his wrists
together, fearing that otherwise he might be able to unfasten the knot.
He now rose to his feet, and looked down upon the young captive, with an
air of triumph.

"Have you any messages to send by me, Rushton?" he said, with a sneer.

"Are you quite determined to leave me here?" asked Robert, in anguish.

"Quite so."

"What will the sailors say when I do not return?"

"Don't trouble yourself about them. I will take care of that. If you
have got anything to say, say it quick, for I must be going."

"Captain Haley," said Robert, his courage rising, and looking the
captain firmly in the face, "I may die here, and so gratify your enmity;
but the time will come when you will repent what you are doing."

"I'll risk that," said Haley, coolly. "Good-by."

He walked up the slope, and disappeared from view, leaving Robert bound
to the tree, a helpless prisoner.



Captain Haley kept on his way to the shore. The four sailors were all
within hail, and on the captain's approach got the boat in readiness to

"Where is the boy?" asked Haley. "Hasn't he got back?"

"No, sir."

"That is strange. I told him to be back in an hour, and it is already
past that time."

"Perhaps he hasn't a watch," suggested one of the sailors.

"I will wait ten minutes for him," said Haley, taking out his watch. "If
he is not back in that time, I must go without him."

The sailors did not reply, but looked anxiously inland, hoping to catch
sight of Robert returning. But, bound as he was, we can understand why
they looked in vain.

"Shall I go and look for him?" asked one.

"No," said Haley, decidedly; "I cannot spare you."

The ten minutes were soon up.

"Into the boat with you," commanded the captain. "I shall wait no

Slowly and reluctantly, the sailors took their places, for Robert was a
favorite with them.

"Now, men, give way," said Haley. "If the boy is lost, it is his own

They reached the vessel in due time. There was a murmur among the crew,
when it was found that Robert had been left behind; but, knowing the
captain's disposition, no one except Bates dared to expostulate.

"Captain Haley," said he, approaching and touching his hat, "will you
give me leave to go on shore for the young gentleman that was left?"

"No," said the captain. "He had fair warning to be back in time, and
chose to disregard it. My duty to the owners will not permit me to delay
the ship on his account."

"He was a relation of the owner," suggested Bates.

"No, he was not; and, if he said so, he lied. Go about your duty, and
take care I have no more fault to find with you, or you go back in

Bates ventured upon no further expostulation. He saw through the
captain's subterfuge, and felt persuaded that it had been his deliberate
intention from the first to abandon Robert to his fate. He began to
think busily, and finally resolved to go to the island and search for
him. For this purpose, a boat would be needful, since the distance,
nearly a league, was too far to swim. Now, to appropriate one of the
ship's boats when the captain was on deck would be impossible, but
Haley, within five minutes, went below. Bates now proceeded to carry out
his plan.

"What are you going to do?" demanded one of the sailors.

"I'm going after the boy."

"You'll be left along with him."

"I'll take the risk. He shan't say he didn't have one friend."

By the connivance of his fellow-sailors, Bates got safely off with the
boat, and began to pull toward shore. He was already a mile distant from
the vessel when Captain Haley came on deck.

"Who is that in the boat?" he demanded, abruptly.

"I don't know, sir."

He pointed the glass toward the boat, and, though he could not fairly
distinguish the stout sailor who was pulling the boat through the water,
he suspected that it was Bates.

"Where is Bates?" he asked.

No one had seen him.

"The fool has gone to destruction," said Captain Haley. "I shall not go
after him. He is welcome to live on the island if he chooses."

His reason for not pursuing the fugitive may be readily understood. He
feared that Robert would be found bound to the tree, and the story the
boy would tell would go heavily against him. He hurried preparation for
the vessel's departure, and in a short time it was speeding away from
the island with two less on board.

I must now go back to Robert, whom we left bound to a tree.

After the captain left him, he struggled hard to unloose the cords which
bound him. The love of life was strong within him, and the thought of
dying under such circumstances was appalling. He struggled manfully,
but, though he was strong for a boy, the cord was strong, also, and the
captain knew how to tie a knot.

Robert ceased at last, tired with his efforts. A feeling of despair came
over him, and the tears started, unbidden, to his eyes, as he thought
how his mother would watch and wait for him in vain--how lonely she
would feel, with husband and son both taken from her. Could it be that
he was to die, when life had only just commenced, thousands of miles
away from home, in utter solitude? Had he come so far for this? Then,
again, he feared that his mother would suffer want and privation when
the money which he had left behind was exhausted. In his pocket there
were nearly two hundred dollars, not likely to be of any service to him.
He wished that they were in her possession.

"If only he had left me free and unbound," thought Robert, "I might pick
up a living on the island, and perhaps some day attract the attention of
some vessel."

With this thought, and the hope it brought, he made renewed efforts to
release himself, striving to untie the cord which fastened his wrists
with his teeth. He made some progress, and felt encouraged, but it was
hard work, and he was compelled to stop, from time to time, to rest. It
was in one of these intervals that he heard his name called. Feeling
sure that there was no one on the island but himself, he thought he was
deceived. But the sound came nearer, and he distinctly heard "Robert!"

"Here I am!" he shouted, in return, his heart filled with sudden

"Captain Haley only meant to frighten me," he thought. "He has sent some
men back for me."

In his gratitude, he thanked Heaven fervently for so changing the heart
of his enemy, and once more life looked bright.

"Robert!" he heard again.

"Here!" he shouted, with all the strength of his lungs.

This time the sound reached Bates, who, running up his boat on shore,
and securing it, was exploring the island in search of our hero. Looking
around him, he at length, from the edge of the valley, descried Robert.

"Is that you, lad?" he asked.

"Yes, Bates; come and untie me!"

Bates saw his situation with surprise and indignation.

"That's some of the captain's work!" he at once decided. "He must be a
cursed scoundrel to leave that poor lad there to die!"

He quickened his steps, and was soon at the side of our hero.

"Who tied you to the tree, lad?" he asked.

"Did Captain Haley send you for me?" asked Robert first, for he had made
up his mind in that case not to expose him.

"No; I stole one of the ship's boats, and came for you without leave."

"The captain didn't know of your coming?"

"No; I asked his leave, and he wouldn't give it."

"It was Captain Haley that tied me here," said Robert, his scruples

"What did he do that for, lad?"

"It's a long story, Bates. It's because he hates me, and wishes me
harm. Untie these cords, and I'll tell you all about it."

"That I'll do in a jiffy, my lad. I'm an old sailor and I can untie
knots as well as tie them."

In five minutes Robert was free. He stretched his limbs, with a feeling
of great relief, and then turned to Bates, whose hand he grasped.

"I owe my life to you, Bates!" he said.

"Maybe not, lad. We're in a tight place yet."

"Has the ship gone?"

"Most likely. The captain won't send back for either of us in a hurry."

"And you have made yourself a prisoner here for my sake?" asked Robert,
moved by the noble conduct of the rough sailor.

"I couldn't abide to leave you alone. There's more chance for two than
for one."

"Heaven bless you, Bates! I won't soon forget what you have done for me.
Do you think there is any chance for us?"

"Of course there is, lad. We've got a boat, and we can live here till
some vessel comes within sight."

"Let us go down to the shore, and see if we can see anything of the

The two bent their steps to the shore, and looked out to sea. They could
still see the ship, but it was already becoming a speck in the distant

"They have left us," said Robert, turning to his companion.

"Ay, lad, the false-hearted villain has done his worst!"

"I didn't think any man would be so inhuman."

"You're young, lad, and you don't know what a sight of villainy there is
in the world. We've got to live here a while, likely. Have you seen
anything in the line of grub here-abouts?"

"There is fruit on some of the trees."

"That's something. Maybe we shall find some roots, besides. We'll draw
the boat farther upon shore, and go on an exploring expedition."

The boat was drawn completely up, and placed, bottom upward, at a safe
distance from the sea. Then Robert and his companion started to explore
the island which had so unexpectedly become their home.



But for the knowledge that he was a prisoner, Robert would have enjoyed
his present situation. The island, though small, was covered with a
luxuriant vegetation, and was swept by cooling breezes, which tempered
the ardor of the sun's rays. And, of this island realm, he and his
companion were the undisputed sovereigns. There was no one to dispute
their sway. All that it yielded was at their absolute disposal.

"I wonder what is the name of this island?" said Robert.

"Perhaps it has no name. Mayhap we are the first that ever visited it."

"I have a great mind to declare myself the king," said our young hero,
smiling, "unless you want the office."

"You shall be captain, and I will be mate," said Bates, to whom the
distinctions of sea life were more familiar than those of courts.

"How long do you think we shall have to stay here?" asked Robert,

"There's no telling, lad. We'll have to stick up a pole on the
seashore, and run up a flag when any vessel comes near,"

"We have no flag."

"Have you a handkerchief?"

"Only one," said Robert.

"That's one more than I have. We'll rig that up when it's wanted."

"Where shall we sleep?"

"That's what I have been thinking. We must build a house."

"A brownstone front?" said Robert. "The governor ought to live in a good

"So he shall," said Bates. "He shall have the first on the island."

"I wonder if it rains often?"

"Not much at this season. In the winter a good deal of rain falls, but I
hope we won't be here then."

"Where shall we build our house?"

"It would be pleasanter inland, but we must be near the shore, so as to
be in sight of ships,"

"That's true, Bates. That is the most important consideration."

They set to work at once, and built a hut, something like an Indian's
wigwam, about a hundred yards from the shore. It was composed, for the
most part, of branches of trees and inclosed an inner space of about
fifteen feet in diameter. They gathered large quantities of leaves,
which were spread upon the ground for beds.

"That's softer than our bunks aboard ship," said Bates.

"Yes," said Robert. "I wouldn't wish any better bed. It is easy to build
and furnish a house of your own here."

"The next thing is dinner," said his companion.

"Shall we go to market?" asked Robert, with a smile.

"We'll find a market just outside."

"You mean the trees?"

"Yes; we'll find our dinner already cooked on them."

The fruit of which they partook freely was quite sweet and palatable.
Still, one kind of food cloys after a time, and so our new settlers
found it. Besides, it was not very substantial, and failed to keep up
their wonted strength. This set them to looking up some other article
which might impart variety to their fare. At last they succeeded in
finding an esculent root, which they partook of at first with some
caution, fearing that it might be unwholesome. Finding, however, that
eating it produced no unpleasant effects, they continued the use of it.
Even this, however, failed to afford them as much variety as they

"I feel as if I should like some fish for breakfast," said Robert one
morning, on waking up.

"So should I, lad," returned Bates. "Why shouldn't we have some?"

"You mean that we shall go fishing?"

"Yes; we've got a boat, and I have some cord. We'll rig up fishing
lines, and go out on a fishing cruise."

Robert adopted the idea with alacrity. It promised variety and

"I wonder we hadn't thought of it before. I used to be a fisherman,

"Did you?"

"Yes; I supplied the market at home for a short time, till Captain Haley
smashed my boat."

"The mean lubber! I wish we had him here."

"I don't; I prefer his room to his company."

"I'd try how he'd like being tied to a tree."

"I don't think you'd untie him again in a hurry."

"You may bet high on that, lad."

They rigged their fishing lines--cutting poles from the trees--and armed
them with hooks, of which, by good luck, Bates happened to have a supply
with him. Then they launched the ship's boat, in which Bates had come to
the island, and put out to sea.

Robert enjoyed the row in the early morning, and wondered they had not
thought of taking out the boat before. At last they came to the
business which brought them out, and in about half an hour had succeeded
in catching four fishes, weighing perhaps fifteen pounds altogether.

"That'll be enough for us, unless you are very hungry," said Robert.
"Now, suppose we land and cook them."

"Ay, ay, lad!"

Of course, their cooking arrangements were very primitive. In the first
place, they were compelled to make a fire by the method in use among the
savages, of rubbing two sticks smartly together, and catching the flame
in a little prepared tinder. The fish were baked over the fire thus
kindled. Though the outside was smoked, the inside was sweet and
palatable, and neither was disposed to be fastidious. The preparation of
the meal took considerable time, but they had abundance of that, and
occupation prevented their brooding over their solitary situation.

"I wish I had 'Robinson Crusoe' here," said Robert--"we might get some
hints from his adventures. I didn't imagine, when I used to read them,
that I should ever be in a similar position."

"I've heard about him," said Bates; "but I never was much of a reader,
and I never read his yarn. You might maybe tell me something of it."

"I will tell you all I can remember, but that isn't very much," said

He rehearsed to the attentive sailor such portions as he could call to
mind of the wonderful story which for centuries to come is destined to
enchain the attention of adventurous boys.

"That's a pretty good yarn," said Bates, approvingly. "Did he ever get
off the island?"

"Yes, he got off, and became quite rich before he died."

"Maybe it'll be so with us, lad."

"I hope so. I don't know what I should do if I were alone as he was.
It's selfish in me, Bates, to be glad that you are shut up here with me,
but I cannot help it."

"You needn't try, lad. It would be mighty dull being alone here,
'specially if you was tied to a tree."

"But suppose we should never get off!"

"We won't suppose that, lad. We are sure to get off some time."

This confident assurance always cheered up Robert, and for the time
inspired him with equal confidence. But when day after day passed away
and the promised ship did not come in sight, he used to ponder
thoughtfully over his situation, and the possibility that he might have
to spend years at least on this lonely island. What in the meantime
would become of his mother? She might die, and if he ever returned it
would be to realize the loss he had sustained. The island, pleasant as
it was, began to lose its charm. If his sailor companion ever shared his
feelings, he never manifested them, unwilling to let the boy see that he
was becoming discouraged.

At length--about six weeks after their arrival upon the island--they
were returning from an excursion to the other side of the island, when,
on arriving in sight of the shore, an unexpected sight greeted their

A pole had been planted in the sand, and from it waved the familiar
flag, dear to the heart of every American--the star-spangled banner.

They no sooner caught sight of it, than, in joyful excitement, they ran
to the shore with all the speed they could muster.



There was no one in sight, but it was evident that a party from an
American ship had visited the island. Had they departed? That was a
momentous question. Instinctively the eyes of both sought the sea. They
saw an American ship riding at anchor a mile or more from shore.

"Give me your handkerchief, Robert," said Bates; "I'll signal them."

"It isn't very clean," said our hero.

"It'll do. See, they are looking at us."

"Your eyes must be good."

"I'm used to looking out to sea, lad."

He waved the handkerchief aloft, and felt sure that he had attracted the
attention of those on board. But there was no motion to put off a boat.

"Do they see it?" asked Robert, eagerly.

"I think so."

"Do you think they will come for us? If not, we can put off in our

"I think the party that planted that flagstaff hasn't got back. It is
exploring the island, and will be back soon."

"Of course it is," said Robert, suddenly. "Don't you see their boat?"

"Ay, ay, lad; it's all right. All we've got to do is to stay here till
they come."

They had not long to wait. A party of sailors, headed by an officer,
came out of the woods, and headed for the shore. They stopped short in
surprise at the sight of Robert and Bates.

"Who are you?" asked the leader, approaching.

Bates touched his hat, for he judged this was the captain of the vessel
he had seen.

"I am a sailor from the ship _Argonaut_, bound from New York to
Calcutta, and this young gentleman is Robert Rushton, passenger aboard
the same ship."

"Where is your ship?"

"I don't know, captain."

"How came you here?"

"We were left here. The vessel went without us."

"How long have you been here?"

"Six weeks."

"There is something about this which I do not understand. Are you here
of your own accord?"

"We are anxious to get away, captain," said Robert. "Will you take us?"

"To be sure I will. There's room enough on my ship for both of you. But
I can't understand how you were left here."

"It's a long yarn, captain," said Bates. "If you haven't time to hear it
now, I will tell you aboard ship."

"You look like a good seaman," said the captain, addressing Bates. "I'm
short-handed just now. If you will engage with me, I will enroll you
among my crew."

"That I'll do," said Bates, with satisfaction. "I wasn't made for a

"My ship is the _Superior_, bound from Boston to Calcutta; so your
destination will be the same. My name is Smith. Do you know the name of
this island?"

"I never heard of it before."

"I have taken possession of it in the name of the United States,
supposing myself the first discoverer."

"That's all right. To my mind, the Star-Spangled Banner is the best that
can wave over it."

"We might offer the captain our boat," suggested Robert.

The offer was made and accepted; and, while the captain and his party
returned in one boat, Robert and Bates rowed to the ship in their own,
and were soon on the deck of the _Superior_ to their unbounded

"This is something like," said Bates. "The island is well enough, but
there's nothing like the deck of a good ship."

"I don't think I wholly agree with you," said Robert, smiling; "but just
at present I do. I am glad enough to be here. We may meet Captain Haley
at Calcutta," he added, after a pause.

"Likely he'll have got away before we get there."

"I hope not. I should like to meet him face to face, and charge him with
his treachery. I don't think he'll be over glad to see me."

"That's so, lad. He don't expect ever to set eyes on you again."

Robert soon felt at home on the new vessel. Captain Smith he found to be
a very different man from Captain Haley. When he heard the story told
him by our hero, he said:

"I like your pluck, Robert. You've had contrary winds so far, but you've
borne up against them. The wind's changed now, and you are likely to
have a prosperous voyage. This Captain Haley is a disgrace to the
service. He'll be overhauled some time."

"When I get back to New York I shall tell Mr. Morgan how he treated me."

"That will put a spoke in his wheel."

"There's one thing I want to speak to you about, Captain Smith. How
much will my passage be?"

"Nothing at all."

"But I have some money with me. I am willing to pay."

"Keep your money, my lad You will need it all before you get through. I
was once a poor boy myself, obliged to struggle for my living. I haven't
forgotten that time, and it makes me willing to lend a helping hand to
others in the same position."

"You are very kind, Captain Smith," said Robert, gratefully.

"I ought to be. How long do you want to stay in Calcutta?"

"Only long enough to look about for my father."

"Then you can return to New York in my ship. It shall cost you nothing."

This offer was gratefully accepted--the more so that our hero had begun
to realize that two hundred dollars was a small sum to carry on a
journey of such length.

At last they reached Calcutta. Robert surveyed with much interest the
great city of India, so different in its external appearance from New
York, the only great city besides that he knew anything about.

"Well, Robert," said Captain Smith, on their arrival, "what are your
plans? Will you make your home on board the ship, or board in the city,
during our stay in port?"

"I think," said Robert, "I should prefer to live in the city, if you
would recommend me to a good boarding place."

"That I can do. I am in the habit of boarding at a quiet house kept by a
widow. Her terms are reasonable, and you can do no better than go there
with me."

"Thank you, Captain Smith. I shall be glad to follow your advice."

So it happened that Captain Smith and Robert engaged board at the house
of Mrs. Start, where, it will be remembered, that Captain Rushton was
also a boarder, passing still under the name of Smith. Physically he had
considerably improved, but mentally he was not yet recovered. His mind
had received a shock, which, as it proved, a shock equally great was
needed to bring it back to its proper balance.

"By the way," said Mrs. Start to Captain Smith, "we have another
gentleman of your name here."


"You will see him at dinner. Poor gentleman, his mind is affected, and
we only gave him this name because we didn't know his real name."

Robert little dreamed who it was of whom Mrs. Start was speaking, nor
did he look forward with any particular curiosity to seeing the other
Mr. Smith.

When dinner was announced, Robert and the captain were early in their
seats, and were introduced to the other boarders as they came in.
Finally Captain Rushton entered, and moved forward to a seat beside the
landlady. Robert chanced to look up as he entered, and his heart made a
mighty bound when in the new Mr. Smith he recognized his father.

"Father!" he exclaimed, eagerly, springing from his seat, and
overturning his chair in his haste.

Captain Rushton looked at him for a moment in bewilderment. Then all at
once the mists that had obscured his faculties were dispelled, and he
cried, "Robert! my dear son, how came you here?"

"I came in search of you, father. Thank Heaven I have found you alive
and well."

"I think I have been in a dream, Robert They call me Smith. That surely
is not my name."

"Rushton, father! You have not forgotten?"

"Yes, that is it. Often it has been on the tip of my tongue, and then it
slipped away from me. But, tell me, how came you here?"

"I am indebted to the kindness of this gentleman--Captain Smith,
father--who rescued me from great peril."

This scene, of course, excited great astonishment among the boarders,
and the worthy landlady who had been uniformly kind to Captain Rushton,
was rejoiced at his sudden recovery. Feeling that mutual explanations in
public would be unpleasant, she proposed to send dinner for both to
Captain Rushton's room, and this offer was gladly accepted.

"And how did you leave your mother, Robert?" asked the captain.

"She was well, father, but mourning for your loss."

"I wish I could fly to her."

"You shall go back with me in Captain Smith's vessel. I am sure he will
take us as passengers,"

"So we will. You are sure your mother is well provided for? But Mr.
Davis has, no doubt, supplied her with money?"

"Not a cent, father."

"Not a cent! I deposited five thousand dollars with him for her benefit,
just before sailing!"

"So you wrote in the letter which you sent in the bottle."

"Was that letter received?"

"Yes; it was that which led me to come in search of you."

"And did you go to Mr. Davis?"

"He denied the deposit, and demanded to see the receipt."

"The villain! He thought I was at the bottom of the sea, and the receipt
with me. He shall find his mistake!"

"Then you have the receipt still, father?"

"To be sure I have," and Captain Rushton drew it from the pocket where
it had laid concealed for two years and more.

Robert regarded it with satisfaction.

"He won't dare to deny it after this. I wish we were going back at

"Now, Robert, tell me all that has happened in my absence, and how you
raised money enough to come out here."

So father and son exchanged narrations. Captain Rushton was astonished
to find that the same man, Ben Haley, who had been the cause of his
misfortunes, had also come so near compassing the destruction of his

"Thanks to a kind Providence," he said, "his wicked machinations have
failed, and we are alive to defeat his evil schemes."



In due time the _Superior_ cleared for New York, and among the
passengers were Robert and his father. Since the meeting with his son
Captain Rushton's mental malady had completely disappeared, and his
mental recovery affected his physical health favorably. His step became
firm and elastic, his eye was bright, and Robert thought he had never
looked better. Leaving the two to pursue their voyage home, we return to
Captain Haley.

After leaving Robert to his fate, he kept on his way, rejoicing with a
wicked satisfaction that he had got rid of an enemy who had it in his
power to do him harm, for what Robert might suffer in his island prison,
he cared little. He took it for granted that he would never get away,
but would pass his life, be it longer or shorter, in dreary exile.
Though the crew did not know all, they knew that the captain had
heartlessly left Robert to his fate, and all were animated by a common
feeling of dislike to their commander, who never under any
circumstances would hare been popular. But there was no one among them
bold enough to come forward and charge Haley with his crime, even when
they reached Calcutta. The captain moved among them, and his orders were
obeyed, but not with alacrity. This satisfied him, for he cared nothing
for the attachment of those under his command.

One day in Calcutta he had a surprise.

He met Captain Rushton one day when out walking. It seemed like one
risen from the dead, for he supposed him lying at the bottom of the sea.
Could his eyes deceive him, or was this really the man whom he had so
grossly injured? Captain Rushton did not see Haley, for he was partly
turned away from him, and was busily conversing with a gentleman of his
acquaintance. Haley drew near, and heard Captain Rushton addressed as
Mr. Smith. He at once decided that, in spite of the wonderful
resemblance, it was not the man he supposed, and breathed more freely in
consequence. But he could not help looking back to wonder at the
surprising likeness.

"They are as near alike as if they were brothers," he said to himself.

He did not again catch sight of Captain Rushton while in Calcutta.

Before Robert arrived, Captain Haley had sailed for home. But he met
with storms, and his vessel received injuries that delayed her, so that
his ship only reached New York on the same day with the _Superior_,
bearing as passengers Robert and his father. Our hero lost no time in
calling upon his friend, Mr. Morgan, and actually reached the office an
hour before Haley, the _Superior_ having reached her pier a little in
advance of the other vessel.

When Robert walked into the office, Mr. Morgan, who was at his desk,
looked up, and recognized him at once.

"Welcome back, my young friend," he said, cordially, rising to meet him.
"I am glad to see you, but I didn't expect you quite so soon. How did
you happen to come in advance of the captain?"

"Then you have not heard what happened at sea?" said Robert.

"Yes," said the merchant. "I heard, much to my regret, of Captain Evans'
death. He was a worthy man, and I am truly sorry to lose him. What do
you think of his successor, Captain Haley? He has never before sailed
for me."

"After I have told my story, you can judge of him for yourself. I did
not return on your vessel, Mr. Morgan, but on the _Superior_, Captain

"How is that?" asked the merchant, surprised.

"Because Captain Haley left me on an island in the Southern Ocean, bound
to a tree, and probably supposes that I am dead."

"Your story seems incredible, Robert. Give me a full account of all that
led to this action on the part of the captain."

My readers shall not be wearied with a repetition of details with which
they are already familiar. Robert related what had happened to him in a
straightforward manner, and Mr. Morgan never thought of doubting his

"This Haley must be a villain," he said. "You are, indeed, fortunate in
having escaped from the snare he laid for you,"

"I have been fortunate in another way also," said Robert. "I have
succeeded in the object of my voyage."

"You have not found your father?"

"I found him in Calcutta, and I have brought him home with me."

"You must have been born under a lucky star, Robert," said the merchant.
"Were your father's adventures as remarkable as yours?"

"It was the same man who nearly succeeded in accomplishing the ruin of
both--Captain Haley was my father's mate, and was he who, in revenge
for some fancied slight, set fire to the vessel in mid-ocean, and then

Scarcely had this revelation been made, when a clerk entered, and
approaching Mr. Morgan, said, "Captain Haley would like to see you."

Mr. Morgan glanced at Robert significantly.

"I wish to know what explanation Mr. Haley has to give of your
disappearance. There is a closet. Go in, and close the door partially,
so that you may hear what passes without yourself being seen."

Robert was hardly established in his place of concealment when Haley
entered the office.

"Good-morning, Mr. Morgan," he said, deferentially, for he wished to
keep in his employer's good graces.

"Good-morning, sir," said the merchant, formally. "Captain Haley, I

"Yes, sir I succeeded to the command of the _Argonaut_ upon the lamented
death of my friend, Captain Evans. His death happened on our passage
out. I proceeded at once to Calcutta, and after disposing of the cargo
sailed for home."

"Your voyage has been a long one."

"Yes, we have had stress of weather, which has delayed us materially. I
regret this, but did the best I could under the circumstances. I hope
to have discharged my duties in a manner satisfactory to you."

"I cannot, of course, blame you for delay, since the weather was quite
beyond your control," said the merchant, but his tone was marked by
coldness, for which Haley found it difficult to account. He was anxious
to remain in command of the _Argonaut_, but the want of cordiality
evinced by his employer made him doubtful of his success. He was not
timid, however, and resolved to broach the subject.

"I hope, Mr. Morgan," he said, "that you have sufficient confidence in
me to intrust me I with the command of the _Argonaut_ on her next

"He certainly is not lacking in audacity," thought Mr. Morgan. "We will
speak of that matter hereafter," he said. "Did my young friend, Robert
Rushton, return with you?"

Now was the critical moment. In spite of his audacity, Haley felt

"No, sir," he replied.

"Indeed! I expected that you would bring him back."

"May I ask if the boy is a relative of yours?"

"No, he is not."

"So much the better."

"Why do you say that? I am particularly interested in him."

"Then, sir, my task becomes more painful and embarrassing."

"You speak in enigmas, Captain Haley."

"I hesitate to speak plainly. I know you will be pained by what I have
to tell you."

"Don't consider my feelings, Captain Haley, but say what you have to

"Then I regret to say that the boy, Robert Rushton, is unworthy of your

"This is a grievous charge. Of course, I expect you to substantiate it."

"I will do so. Shortly after the death of Captain Evans and my accession
to the command I found that this boy was trying to undermine my
influence with the men, from what motives I cannot guess. I remonstrated
with him mildly but firmly, but only received insolence in return.
Nevertheless I continued to treat him well on account of the interest
you felt in him. So things went on till we reached Calcutta. He left me
at that time, and to my surprise did not return to the ship. I was able
to account for his disappearance, however, when I missed one hundred and
fifty dollars, of which I have not the slightest doubt that he robbed
me. I should have taken measures to have him arrested, but since you
felt an interest in him I preferred to suffer the loss in silence. I
fear, Mr. Morgan, that you have been greatly deceived in him."

"I suspect that I have been deceived," said Mr. Morgan, gravely. "It is
only fair, however, Captain Haley, to hear both sides, and I will
therefore summon the boy himself to answer your charge. Robert!"

At the summons, to Captain Haley's equal surprise and dismay, Robert
stepped from the closet in which he had been concealed.

"What have you to say, Robert?" asked the merchant.

"Captain Haley knows very well the falsehood of what he says," said our
hero, calmly. "It was not at Calcutta I left the _Argonaut_, nor was it
of my own accord. Captain Haley, with his own hands, tied me to a tree
on a small island in the Southern Ocean, and there left me, as he
supposed, to a solitary death. But Heaven did not forsake me, and sent
first a brave sailor and afterward a ship to my assistance. The charge
that I stole money from him I shall not answer, for I know Mr. Morgan
will not believe it."

Captain Haley was not a fool, and he knew that it would be useless to
press the charge further. He rose from his seat; his face was dark with
anger and smarting under a sense of defeat.

"You have not done with me yet," he said to Robert, and without another
word left the office.



Affairs in Millville had gone on much as usual. Mrs. Rushton had not yet
exhausted the supply of money left by Robert in the hands of his friend
the lawyer. Her expenses were small, and were eked out by her earnings;
for she continued to braid straw, and was able in this way to earn two
dollars a week. Indeed, she made it a point to be as economical as
possible, for she thought it likely Robert would spend all his money,
and return penniless. She had received no letter from him since the one
announcing his being about to sail for Calcutta, and this made her
naturally anxious. But Mr. Paine assured her that letters were likely to
be irregular, and there was no ground for alarm. So she waited with what
patience she could till Robert should return, hoping that by some
strange chance he might succeed in his quest, and bring his father back
with him.

Meanwhile, fortune had improved with Mr. Davis, the superintendent of
the factory. He had lost largely by speculation, but had blundered at
last into the purchase of a stock in which some interested parties had
effected a corner. It went up rapidly, and on the morning when we
introduce him again to the reader he was in high good spirits, having
just received intelligence from his broker that he had cleared seven
thousand dollars by selling at the top of the market.

"Another cup of coffee, Mrs. Davis," he said, passing his cup across the

Seeing that his father appeared in good humor, Halbert ventured to
prefer a request, which, however, he had little hope of having granted.

"Have you seen Will Paine's pony?" he said, paving the way for the

"Yes," said his father; "I saw him on it yesterday."

"It's a regular beauty--I wish I had one."

"How much did it cost?"

"Two hundred dollars."

"That is rather a high price."

"But it will increase in value every year. I wish you would buy me one,

"I think I will," said the superintendent, helping himself to a fresh
slice of toast.

"Do you mean it?" asked Halbert, in the utmost astonishment.

"Certainly I do. I can afford you a pony as well as Mr. Paine can
afford to buy William one."

"Thank you!" said Halbert, his selfish nature more nearly affected by
gratitude than ever before. "You are very kind. When will you see about

"I am busy. You may go yourself and ask Mr. Paine where he got William's
pony, and if he knows of any other equally good."

"That I will," said Halbert, leaving the table in haste.

"Halbert, you have eaten scarcely anything," said his mother.

"I am not hungry," said the excited boy, seizing his hat, and dashing
off in the direction of Mr. Paine's office.

"By the way, Mrs. Davis," said the husband, "I think you mentioned last
week that the parlor needed a new carpet."

"So it does. The old one is looking very shabby."

"How much will a new one cost?"

"I can get a nice Brussels for a hundred dollars."

"Well, you may order one."

It was the wife's turn to be astonished, for on broaching the subject
the week previous, her husband had given her a lecture on extravagance,
and absolutely refused to consider her request. This was before the
tidings of his good fortune. She was not slow to accept the present
concession, and assumed an unusually affectionate manner, in the excess
of her delight.

Meanwhile, Halbert, in opening the front door, came in collision with a
boy taller and stouter than himself, brown and sunburned. But, changed
as he was, he was not slow in recognizing his old enemy, Robert Rushton.

"What, are you back again?" he said, ungraciously.

"So it appears. Is your father at home?"

"Yes; but he is at breakfast. I don't think you can see him."

"I'll make the attempt, at any rate," said Robert.

"Where have you been all this time?" asked Halbert, more from curiosity
than interest.

"I went to Calcutta."

"Common sailor, I suppose," said Halbert, contemptuously.

"No, I was a passenger."

"Where did you get your money to pay the passage?"

"I'm sorry that I can't stop to gratify your curiosity just at present,
but I have important business with your father."

"You're getting mighty important," sneered Halbert.

"Am I?"

"I wouldn't advise you to put on so many airs, just because you've been
to Calcutta."

"I never thought of putting on any. I see you haven't changed much since
I went away. You have the same agreeable, gentlemanly manners."

"Do you mean to say that I am not a gentleman?" blustered Halbert.

"Not at all. You may be one, but you don't show it."

"I have a great mind to put you out of the yard."

Robert glanced at Halbert's figure, slight compared with his own, and

"I think you would find it a difficult undertaking," he said.

Halbert privately came to the same conclusion, and decided to war only
with words.

"I have got something better to do than to stand here listening to your
impudence. I won't soil my fingers by touching you."

"That's a sensible conclusion. Good-morning."

Halbert did not deign to respond, but walked off, holding his nose very
high in the air. Then, as he thought of the pony, he quickened his pace,
and bent his steps to Mr. Paine's office.

"A young man to see you, Mr. Davis," said Bridget, entering the

"Who is it?"

"I think it's young Robert Rushton, but he's much grown entirely."

"That boy home again!" exclaimed the superintendent, in displeased
surprise. "Well, you may ask him into the next room."

"Good-morning, Mr. Davis," said Robert, as the superintendent entered.

"Good-morning. When did you get home?" was the cold reply.

"Last evening."

"Where have you been?"

"To Calcutta."

"On a fool's errand."

"I felt it my duty to search for my father."

"I could have told you beforehand you would not succeed. Did you go as a


"Where did you raise money to pay your expenses?"

"I found friends who helped me."

"It is a poor policy for a boy to live on charity."

"I never intend to do it," said Robert, firmly. "But I would rather do
it than live on money that did not belong to me."

"What do you mean by that, sir?" said the superintendent, suspiciously.

"It was a general remark," said Robert.

"May I ask what is your motive in calling upon me?" asked Mr. Davis. "I
suppose you have some object."

"I have, and I think you can guess it."

"I am not good at guessing," said Davis, haughtily.

"Then I will not put you to that trouble. You remember, before I sailed
for Calcutta, I called here and asked you to restore the sum of five
thousand dollars deposited with you by my father?"

"I remember it, and at the time I stigmatized the claim as a fraudulent
one. No such sum was ever deposited with me by your father."

"How can you say that, when my father expressly stated it in the letter,
written by him, from the boat in which he was drifting about on the

"I have no proof that the letter was genuine, and even if it were, I
deny the claim. I am not responsible for money I never received."

"I understand you then refuse to pay the money?"

"You would have understood it long ago, if you had not been uncommonly
thick-headed," sneered the superintendent. "Let this be the end of it.
When you present my note of acknowledgment for the amount, I will pay
it and not before."

"That is all I ask," said Robert.

"What?" demanded the superintendent.

"I mean that this assurance is all I want. The note shall be presented
to you in the course of the day."

"What do you mean?" asked Davis, startled.

"I mean this, Mr. Davis: that I found my father in Calcutta. He came
home with me, and, far from having perished at sea, is now alive and
well. He has with him your note for five thousand dollars, and will
present it in person."

"You are deceiving me!" exclaimed Davis, in consternation.

"You will soon learn whether I am deceiving you or not," said Robert. "I
will now bid you good-morning. My father will call upon you in the
course of the day."

He rose to go, leaving the superintendent thunderstruck at the
intelligence of Captain Rushton's return. The five thousand dollars,
with arrears of interest, would take the greater part of the money whose
sudden acquisition had so elated him. While he was considering the
situation, his wife entered.

"I think, Mr. Davis," she said, "I will go to New York to-day to buy
carpeting, if you can spare the money."

"Neither now nor at any other time," he roared, savagely; "the old
carpet must do."

"Why, then, did you tell me fifteen minutes since that I might buy one?
What do you mean by such trifling, Mr. Davis?" said his wife, her eyes

"I mean what I say. I've changed my mind. I can't afford to buy a new

There was a stormy scene between man and wife, which may be passed over
in silence. It ended with a fit of hysterics on the part of Mrs. Davis,
while her husband put on his hat and walked gloomily over to the
factory. Here he soon received a call from Halbert, who informed him,
with great elation, that Mr. Paine knew of a desirable pony which could
be had on the same terms as his son's.

"I've changed my mind," said his father. "A pony will cost too much

All Halbert's entreaties were unavailing, and he finally left his
father's presence in a very unfilial frame of mind.



The arrival of Captain Rushton, confidently supposed to be dead,
produced a great sensation in Millville, and many were the
congratulatory visits received at the little cottage. Mrs. Rushton was
doubly happy at the unexpected return of her husband and son, and felt
for the first time in her life perfectly happy. She cared little for
poverty or riches, as long as she had regained her chief treasures.

When Captain Rushton called upon the superintendent, the latter received
him with embarrassment, knowing that the captain was aware of his
intended dishonesty. He tried to evade immediate payment, but on this
point his creditor was peremptory. He had no further confidence in Mr.
Davis, and felt that the sooner he got his money back into his hands the
better. It was fortunate for him that the superintendent had been at
last successful in speculation, or restitution would have been
impossible. As is was, he received his money in full, nearly six
thousand dollars, which he at once invested in bank stock of reliable
city banks, yielding a good annual income. Only the day after the
payment of this sum, a committee of investigation appointed by the
directors, whose suspicions had been excited, visited the factory, and
subjected the superintendent's books to a thorough scrutiny. The result
showed that Mr. Davis, in whom hitherto perfect confidence had been
felt, had for years pursued a system of embezzlement, which he had
covered up by false entries in his books, and had appropriated to his
own use from fifteen to twenty thousand dollars belonging to the
corporation. While this investigation was pending, the superintendent
disappeared, leaving his wife and son unprovided for. His estate was
seized in part satisfaction of the amounts he had appropriated, and
Halbert's pride was brought low. The wealth and position upon which he
had based his aristocratic pretensions vanished, and in bitter
mortification he found himself reduced to poverty. He could no longer
flaunt his cane and promenade the streets in kid gloves, but was glad to
accept a position in the factory store, where he was compelled to dress
according to his work. In fact, he had exchanged positions with Robert,
who was now, owing to a circumstance which will at once be mentioned,
possessed of a considerable inheritance.

The old farmer, Paul Nichols, whom Robert tried to defend from his
unprincipled nephew, Ben Haley, died suddenly of heart disease.
Speculation was rife as to who would inherit the estate which he left
behind him. He had no near relation except Ben Haley, and so great was
the dislike he entertained toward him that no one anticipated that the
estate would go to him, unless through Paul's dying intestate. But
shortly after Haley's visit, his uncle made a will, which he deposited
in the hands of Lawyer Paine. On the day after the funeral, the latter
met Captain Rushton and Robert, and said:

"Will you come to my office this afternoon at three o'clock?"

"Certainly," said the captain.

"I suppose you don't want me, Mr. Paine?" said Robert.

"I do want you, particularly," said the lawyer.

Our hero wondered a little why his presence was required, but dismissed
the matter from his mind, until three o'clock found him in the lawyer's

"Gentlemen," said the lawyer, "I am about to read the last will and
testament of our neighbor, Paul Nichols, recently deceased."

This preamble created surprise, for this was the first intimation that
such a will was in existence.

The document was brief, and the substance of it was contained in the
following paragraph:

"Having no near relatives, except Benjamin Haley, for whom I have
neither regard nor affection, and who, moreover, has recently stolen a
considerable sum of money from me, I leave all of which I may die
possessed, whether in land or money, to my brave young friend, Robert
Rushton, who courageously defended me from my said nephew, at his own
bodily risk, and I hope he may live long to enjoy the property I
bequeath him."

No one was more surprised than Robert at the unexpected inheritance. He
could hardly realize that he was now possessed of a considerable
property in his own right. It may be said here that, including the value
of the farm, and the gold concealed, his inheritance amounted to quite
ten thousand dollars. Paul had considerately supplied the lawyer with a
list of the hiding places where he had secreted his money on the
strictest injunctions of secrecy, and this made the task of finding it
quite easy.

Congratulations poured in upon our hero, who received them with modest

"It is a good thing to have a rich son," said Captain Rushton,
humorously. "Robert, I hope you won't look down upon me on account of my
comparative poverty."

"Father," said Robert, "I wish you would take this money--I don't want

"I shall do nothing of the kind, Robert. It is fairly and deservedly
yours, though I confess you may attribute it partly to good luck, for
virtue is not always so well rewarded in this world. I will take care of
it for you, and if you choose to pay your own expenses out of your
income, I shall allow you to do so, since you are now rich and

"You must take all the income, father. Then it will not be necessary for
you to go to sea again."

"I have already made up my mind to stay on land hereafter," said Captain
Rushton. "My cruise in an open boat without provisions has cured me of
my love for the sea. With the little money I have saved, and the help of
a rich son, I think I can afford to stay on shore."

The cottage was enlarged by the erection of another story, as well as by
the addition of a wing and the throwing out of two bay windows, and was
otherwise refitted and so metamorphosed by fresh paint and new
furniture, that it became one of the most attractive houses in
Millville. Captain Rushton, who knew something of agriculture, decided
to carry on Robert's farm himself, and found the employment both
pleasant and profitable.

"My only trouble," he used to say, jocosely, "is that I have a very
exacting landlord. Unless the rent were punctually paid, he would be
sure to resort to legal means to recover it."

When Ben Haley heard that his uncle's estate had been bequeathed to the
boy whom he had persecuted, and whom for that reason he hated, his rage
and disappointment were unbounded. If he had not been within two hours
of sailing in command of a ship bound to South America, he would at once
have gone down to Millville, and in his fury he might have done serious
injury to the boy who had superseded him. But he could not delay the day
of sailing, and so, much against his will, he was forced to forego his
vengeance until his return. But this was destined to be his last voyage.
While at Rio Janeiro he became engaged in a fracas with the keeper of a
low grogshop, when the latter, who was a desperate ruffian, snatched a
knife from his girdle, and drove it into the heart of the unhappy
captain, who fell back on the floor and expired without a groan. Thus
terminated a misguided and ill-spent life. I should have been glad to
report Ben Haley's reformation instead of his death, but for the sake of
Robert, whom he hated so intensely, I am relieved that thin source of
peril is closed.

Robert, being now in easy circumstances, decided to pursue his studies
for two years longer, and accordingly placed himself in a school of high
reputation, where he made rapid improvement. He then entered upon a
business life under the auspices of his friend, Mr. Morgan, and promises
in time to become a prominent and wealthy merchant. He passes every
Sunday at home in the little cottage occupied by his father, who,
however, has ceased to be a farmer, having been promoted to the post of
superintendent of the factory, formerly occupied by Mr. Davis. For the
first twelve months the post was filled by a new man, who proved to be
incompetent, and then was offered to Captain Rushton, whose excellent
executive talents were well known. He soon made himself familiar with
his duties, and the post is likely to be his as long as he cares to hold

Hester Paine, as a young lady, fulfills the promise of her girlhood. The
mutual attachment which existed between her and Robert, when boy and
girl, still continues, and there is some ground for the report which
comes from Millville--that they are engaged. The alliance will be in the
highest degree pleasing to both families, for if Hester is fair and
attractive, Robert is energetic and of excellent principles, and
possessed of precisely those qualities which, with fair good fortune
will, under the favor of Providence, insure his success in life.


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