Page images
PDF
EPUB

So it was with a great deal of anxiety on my from being a fool, my lady. He is one of the own account, and also on account of the little best officers in His Majesty's navy, and Lord book, that the days passed while I waited the Howe thinks much of his opinion.” ordeal that would come to me when I faced the “In that case I am lost," I cried. “Sir John admiral of the feet, toward which we were hur- will make it out that I am the worst rebel that rying.

ever lived." At length one beautiful morning, we sighted "Now you are running to the other extreme,” land, which Mr. Vernon said was the Long Is- said Mr. Vernon, with a smile. "Lord Howe is land; and soon afterward we entered a broad, no fool either, and, knowing all the circumbeautiful bay in which were all manner of ships stances, he is as able as another to put two and at anchor, for here lay the English fleet over two together. He will take Sir John's chagrin which Admiral Lord Howe had command. I and disappointment into consideration when he shall never forget what a wondrous sight it was. listens to the tale. I know not how it will turn There were many ships of the line, huge, stately out, but the admiral can be counted on to deal vessels with masts that seemed to reach into the fairly by all, in so far as any human being is blue heavens, and peaceful enough they looked, able to do that.” riding at anchor on the sparkling waters, in spite “Do you think Lord Howe will want to see me of the guns showing through the ports. Flags soon?" I asked, for it is ever my desire to be were a-flying everywhere, and boats of all sizes done with disagreeable tasks. were running from one ship to another, so that "I should expect them to send for you at any the bay had a most busy look.

minute," he answered, and then looked at me Aboard the Good Will there was much bustling very critically for a space, so that I wondered about. Everything had been made clean and what was in his mind. bright, the officers all had on their best uni- “I hope you will know me the next time we forms, and the sailors, too, were dressed for the meet, sir," I said saucily, for his eyes searched occasion. The ship herself was bedecked from me up and down, and I felt embarrassed. stem to stern with flags, and a gay appearance

“Do not jest,” he returned gravely, “I am we must have presented, for many cheers came thinking of your good. Have you any other to us as we sailed to our station. As the great

gowns?" ship headed into the wind, the sailors manned "Why, yes, to be sure," I answered, surprised the yards and the salutes to the admiral boomed at such a question. "Must I put on my best to out across the water. We came to rest amid the visit Lord Howe?" echoes of the answering guns.

“Nay,” he returned quickly, “that you must not Immediately Sir John appeared on deck, clad do; but here is a suggestion I would take were I in a gorgeous uniform. A boat was put over the in your place: put on the plainest dress you have, side, and, in a twinkling, our commander was and, if you can make yourself look younger, I being rowed to the flag-ship to make the report

would advise it. How to do it I leave you to conthat was to decide my fate.

trive, but the more childish you seem, the more I stood against the bulwarks looking across the likely are you to get your way, for, you see, Sir water, and watched him mount the ladder and John will try to make you out older and more redisappear, my heart heavy with the thought of sponsible than you are, and if you appear very what was to come. I was near to weeping, for I young, that will be a point in your favor at once. felt my courage ebbing away rapidly and despair I understood, and saw the wisdom of his sugtaking its place. As I stood there, Mr. Vernon gestion. Since I had been on the ship, it had came and leaned on the rail beside me.

been my desire to seem older perhaps than I “Nay, be not so downhearted,” he said, noting really was; for, though I think I was not a very the dismal look upon my face; "at worst it will vain or silly girl, I confess I had spared no pains only be a return to England.”

to make myself appear grown up.

It was but "And what could be worse?" I cried out. "No natural, as I was the only child among many who one wants me there, and here I am treated like a were older. To effect this I had always worn criminal. None believe what I say. I am bad- my richest petticoats and ruffles and tuckers, and gered and beset till I scarce know what I am dressed my hair as much like Aunt Prudence's as about. No one but a fool like Sir John would I could manage, though, to be sure, I had never treat a maid so."

dared to powder it. To make myself look younger "Nay, get that notion out of your small head," than I had appeared on the Good Will was not Mr. Vernon returned. “I 'll grant you he lacks difficult, for I had little calamanco smocks manners, especially to his inferiors; but he 's far a-plenty, for morning wear about the house. In

[ocr errors]

one of these, with my hair in curls, I would look The boat fairly danced over the water, and child-like enough.

when at length I was landed on the flag-ship, I "Oh, thank you, Mr. Vernon," I said to him. was taken at once below and ushered into a "I see what you would be at, and shall make my- splendid cabin. Here were seated many officers, self ready at once," and I was about to go to my among whom was Sir John, and there was some cabin when he spoke again.

talking going forward, for those who were with "Oh, another thing, Mistress Beatrice !" he me held me at the entrance till an opportune mocautioned. “Do not be saucy nor talk back. ment should present itself for me to enter.

[graphic][merged small][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

Tears are much more becoming to a child, under I knew at once which must be Lord Howe, for some circumstances, and the admiral is not Sir he sat at the head of the table, and those about John."

him showed plainly that his was the deciding "I understand," I replied, "but Sir John angers voice in all matters. me so that it is all I can do to hold my tongue. Presently at a lull in the talk I was brought You know they call me Bee at home, not only be- forward, and the man in charge of me told them cause it 's short for Beatrice, but because Hal who I was. says I have a little sting, which is my tongue; At once there was a craning of necks, as I but I shall try to keep it in check," and with that stood before them looking as demure as I could. I ran off to change my dress.

For a moment there was silence, and then, as if I was scarce ready when the summons came, at a signal, they all burst into a roar of laughter, and I went at once on deck to find a boat await- all, that is, save Sir John and Lord Howe, though ing to take me to the flag-ship.

there was a smile about the latter's lips. Mr. Vernon saw me, and there was a twinkle “And is this the blood-thirsty rebel you cap

tured, Sir John ?” one gentleman called out, slap“'T is capital !" he whispered as I passed him, ping the table with his open hand. "Had we not and I felt somewhat heartened as I went down better have a company of marines to guard us over the side and started off to learn my fate. from so dangerous a foe, Your Lordship?"

in his eye.

“My faith, Sir John!" cried another, " 't is well of certain advices from those aboard the ship to you had the Good Will. Any smaller ship would those on land. How important those advices are scarce have done for so daring an enterprise." we all know. I thought of course that she car

I looked at Sir John, and his face was well- ried a written message, but, having searched her nigh purple with rage.

effects thoroughly and found nothing, I can only 'T is a trick !" he shouted above the laughter. conclude that they planned to convey the news "The vixen is older than she looks."

through her by word of mouth, not daring to **Gentlemen! gentlemen!" called Lord Howe trust the written document with her." from the top of the table, and at once there was "Nay, Your Lordship, I carry no such mesquiet. “Come hither," he went on in the most sage," I burst out ere they questioned me; and kindly voice, and I stepped forward at once and this was true, for I knew not at all what the purstood beside him.

port of the letter was, and it certainly was not “How old are you, little maid?" he asked at sent by word of mouth. length, and I answered truthfully that I was “And I respectfully submit," said one gentletwelve.

man thoughtfully, “that they would hardly have "You scarce look so old," he replied, and then, sent a messenger into the lion's mouth." to Sir John, “but even twelve is no great age, "The girl's truthfulness is already in question," think you?"

Sir John cut in harshly. "By a lucky accident At that there was renewed merriment at Sir we discovered that the ‘old Mr. Travers' she John's expense, and, though I could have laughed talked of was in fact a young man and a very with joy to see him so baited, I kept a straight active rebel. Those who made up the tale for face and lowered eyes.

her evidently did not count upon our having any “And now, my child,” Lord Howe said, “sup- on board who knew Mr. Travers, and pose you tell us how you came to be upon this thought that her story would go unquestioned. rebel ship."

If, therefore, we have found her tale false in one Amid silence, for all about the table seemed particular, what can we believe? Moreover, why much interested in what I was saying, I told once run the risk? My suggestion is that under any more the tale of my coming to the Americas and circumstances we send her back to England withthe reasons for it.

out allowing her any communication with those That my story was believed, in the main at on shore. She was found on a rebel ship, and I least, was shown by the remarks that went have no doubt she is a rebel spy. Surely there is around the table in regard to Mr. Van der Helst's enough treason in that book of hers to convict a behavior to me, and there were even several who dozen." blamed Granny for having let me go at all.

"Aye, that book," said Lord Howe, musingly; But ere long. Sir John cut in harshly.

"I should like to see it." "Your Lordship,” he said, “I submit that this Then for the first time in a week I saw my tale is scarce plausible. However, the point is little volume of Maxims, as one of Sir John's this: I am convinced that the maid is the bearer aids handed it to the admiral.

(To be continued.)

one

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

BY JAMES ROWE
SALLY SIMM saw Sadie Slee

Sadie smiled; soon swiftly swung;
Slowly, sadly swinging.

Sitting straight, steered stiffly.
“She seems sorrowful," said she.

“So!” said Sally, “something sung So she started singing.

Scatters sunshine swiftly!"

[graphic]

BY CHRISTY MATHEWSON

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Ew of the boys who read this of batters carefully—that is, he was constantly article will become Big- on the alert to discover what sort of a ball each League pitchers.

The ma

batter could n't hit-and then he pitched in this jority of them probably have "groove," as it is called in base-ball. no such ambition. But nearly When I was a boy about eight or nine years all boys play ball, and al- old, I lived in Factoryville, Pennsylvania, a little most all boy players wish, at country town; and I had a cousin, older than I, some time, to be pitchers. who was always studying the theory of throwing.

The first necessity for a I used to throw fat stones with him, and he pitcher is to have

would show me (I suppose almost every boy trol of the ball. That can't be emphasized too knows) that if a flat stone is started with the strongly. A boy may be able to throw all the flat surface parallel to the ground, it will always curves imaginable, but if he can't put the ball turn over before it lands. That is, after it loses where he wants it, the batters keep walking its speed, and the air-cushion fails to support it, around the bases, and he will never win any ball the stone will turn over and drop down. The games. Therefore, I would, first of all, advise harder it is thrown, the longer the air sustains my young readers to practise accuracy, until they it, and the farther it will carry before it drops. can place the ball just where they want to send it. My cousin showed me, also, that, if the hand Let them pitch to another boy, with a barn or a were turned over, and the flat stone started with fence as a back-stop, and try to put one high, the flat surface at an acute angle to the earth, over the inside of the plate, the next low over the instead of parallel to it, the stone, instead of inside, and then high over the outside, and again dropping, would curve horizontally. I began to low over the outside; and keep up this practice practise this throw, and to make all sorts of expatiently until mastery of the control of the ball periments with stones. is obtained. A boy will find that even if he can't I got to be a great stone thrower, and this pitch a curve, but has good control, he will be practice increased my throwing power, and taught able to win many more ball games than if he has me something about curves. When I was nine a lot of benders, but no ability to put the ball years old, I could throw a stone farther than any where he wants it.

of the boys who were my chums. Then I used to There used to be a pitcher in the American go out in the woods and throw at squirrels and League named “Al” Orth, who was called the blackbirds, and even sparrows; and many a bag“Curveless Wonder,” because, it was said, he ful of game I got with stones. But, when aimcould n't throw a curve ball. But he had almost ing at game, I always used round stones, as these perfect control, and was able to pitch the ball can be thrown more accurately. exactly where he thought it would be hardest for All this time I was practising with stones, the batter to hit it. The result was that, for sev- mainly for amusement; I had n't played any baseeral years, he was one of the best pitchers in the ball, except “one old cat," with boys of my own American League, with nothing but his control age. As a matter of fact, I did n't think much to fall back upon. But he studied the weaknesses about base-ball. Gradually, however, I became

[graphic]

interested in it, and before long, I was allowed to most important position, one of the older boys stand behind the catcher when the Factoryville always took the job without even giving me a team was playing, and "shag” foul balls, or carry tryout. In fact, they thought that I was altothe bats or the water. For I was born with the gether too good a pitcher for my age, because I base-ball instinct, and a “mascot,” or bat-boy, is had considerable speed, and it was natural that the rôle in which many a ball-player has made his several of the older boys did n't want to see the start.

"kid” get along too fast. So they put me in This Factoryville nine was composed of grown right field, on the theory that "anybody can play men, and it was not uncommon for small town right field." teams to wear whiskers in those days. Vany of I was n't much of a ball-player, outside of bethe players, too, were really fat men. But, boy- ing a pitcher, and it must be confessed that I like, I felt very important in being "connected never showed up brilliantly with that boy team. with” this pretentious-looking club. My official I could catch flies only fairly well, could throw name was “second catcher,” which entitled me to hard and straight, and was pretty good at chasing no place in the batting order, but gave me a the balls that got away from me; but I was n't chance at all foul balls and other misplaced hits a good hitter, and probably for just one reason. that none of the regular nine could reach. If I I was what is known as a "cross-handed" bathappened to catch a wild foul ball, I would often ter,-and the experts will all tell you that this is hear the spectators say, "That 's a pretty good a cardinal sin in a batsman. It means that I kid. He 'll make a ball-player some day." But if stood up to the plate as a right-handed batter I missed one, then it would be: "That kid 's pretty does, but put my left hand on top of my right, bad. He 'll never be a ball-player!"

which greatly reduces the chances of hitting the So, at the age of ten, I became a known factor ball when a man swings at it. All boys should in the base-ball circles of Factoryville, and might be careful to avoid this cross-handed method of be said to have started on my career.

holding the bat. It is a great weakness. No one My next step was learning to throw a curve that I played with knew enough to tell me to with a base-ball, and one of the pitchers on the turn around and bat left-handed, or that I was town team undertook to show me how this was probably, by nature, a left-handed hitter. I would done. He taught me to hold the ball for an out- advise any boys who have this fault to try hitting curve, and then to snap my wrist to attain the left-handed, and if this does not prove successful, desired result. After considerable practice, I to practise keeping the right hand on top until managed to curve the ball, but I never knew they are able to swing that way. No one will where it was going. I used to get another young- ever be a good ball-player who hits in the clumsy, ster, a little younger than I, up against a barn, cross-handed style. with a big glove, and pitch to him for hours. At I believe I got the habit from hoeing, and choplast, I attained fair control over this curve, and ping wood, and performing some of the other then I began practising what is known in the chores that a country boy is called upon to do. Big Leagues as “the fast ball," but what most At all events, it "came natural," as the saying is, boys call an "in-curve."

for me to hold my left hand on top of my right Every boy knows that, if he grips a ball tightly when doing any work of that kind. The result and then throws it, with all his speed, off the ends was, that I batted as if I were hoeing potatoes, of his fingers, the ball will curve in toward a and seldom obtained a hit. Once in a while, I right-handed batter slightly. This curve is easy would connect with the ball, in my awkward, to accomplish, as it is merely a matter of speed cross-handed style, and it would always be a long and letting the ball slide straight off the ends of wallop, because I was a big, husky, country boy; the fingers,—the most natural way to throw. It but more often I ignominiously struck out. So it does not require any snap of the wrist, but the will be seen that my real base-ball start was not bend of the curve is naturally slight, and that is very auspicious. the reason most Big Leaguers call it a fast ball, But, even then, I would rather play base-ball and do not recognize it as a curve. At the age of than eat, and that is the spirit all boys need who twelve, having no designs on the Big League, I expect to be good players. When I was fourteen called it the "in-curve," and reckoned, with some years old, the pitcher on the Factoryville team pride, that I could throw two curves—the "out" was taken ill one day, just before a game with a and the "in."

nine from a town a few miles away, and the conI first began playing ball on a team when I was test was regarded as very important in both viltwelve, but most of the other boys were older lages. Our second pitcher was away on a visit, than I, and, as pitcher was considered to be the and so Factoryville was "up against it” for a

« PreviousContinue »