THE ARRIVAL OF MICHAEL ANGELO SPICKLES

The bell on the dormitory was rung at the regular hour, and every thing
went on as usual at the school. Captain Gildrock had started out all the
officers in Genverres to hunt down the burglars. The engineer and the
carpenter had the start of them, but at breakfast-time nothing had been
heard from them. It was Saturday, and the regular sessions of the school
were suspended on that day; but the order had been given for all the
students to assemble in the schoolroom at eight o’clock.

The excitement had almost entirely subsided, and the only thing that
disturbed the principal was the continued absence of Dory. But Mr.
Jepson and Mr. Brookbine had gone in search of him, and it did not
appear that any thing else could be done. Mrs. Dornwood and Marian were
very anxious about him; and as soon as it appeared that the storm had
subsided, the captain promised to send out all the steamers and
sailing-craft to explore the lake and the eastern shore.

At the appointed hour all the students were in their places, some of
them expecting to hear the principal speak of the burglary, though the
old scholars were not of this number. If there was any exciting topic
not connected with the school current on the premises, Captain Gildrock
usually ignored it. He made the work of the school the main topic, and
never put the routine aside unless for sufficient reasons.

“As the season opens, we are to make the sailing of boats the principal
object of study and practice,” the principal began, much to the
disappointment of many of the students, who wanted to know what he
thought about the burglary. “This matter has always been attended to
more or less, though we have never given it special attention till this
season.

“While we shall be obliged to confine our practice in sailing to small
craft, I shall give you some idea of the management of larger craft. In
one of the palaces in St. Petersburg, there is a mast set up, and fully
sparred and rigged, for the instruction of the young Grand Dukes in
seamanship. From this model they learn all the details of the spars,
rigging, and sails; and having learned it on one mast, they apply it to
any other.

“I have already given this information so far as it could be done in a
lecture illustrated with drawings. You have studied these drawings, and
you ought to know the names and uses of the principal pieces of rigging.
I gave you the system by which the names are applied; and at the time of
it, you seemed to have mastered the subject, though you have doubtless
forgotten some of the details.

“But this is not a study-hour, and perhaps it would be better for me to
answer questions, of which you seem to have a full supply on hand at all
times. At any rate, I shall ascertain what you wish to know on this
subject.”

Lon Dorset raised his hand, and the principal indicated by a nod that he
might proceed. All eyes were directed towards him.

“I wish to know if there is ever a square-sail rigged with a gaff on the
mizzen-mast of a brig, above the spanker,–a sail set like the mainsail
of a schooner?” asked the inquirer.

“On which mast?” asked the principal; and there was something like a
suppressed laugh among the old sailors of the school.

“The mizzen-mast, sir,” replied Lon confidently.

The old sailors laughed out loud, for it was rather a pleasure to trip
up any one in a nautical blunder.

“There is no such mast in a brig,” added Captain Gildrock.

“I beg your pardon, sir; but you told us, in the lecture you gave us on
the different rigs of vessels, that a brig had two masts,–the main and
the mizzen,” continued Lon, picking up his note-book, and hastily
turning the leaves.

“I think not, Dorset,” said the principal with a smile. “I know better
than that, and I should not be likely to say such a thing.”

“Here it is, just as I wrote it down at the time of it,” persisted Lon.
“I didn’t know any thing at all about such vessels, and I should not
have been likely to put down what you didn’t say. ‘In a vessel with two
masts, the terms are main and mizzen.'”

About a dozen others began to turn the leaves of their note-books, and
then Dolly Woodford raised his hand. The principal nodded to him.

“I have it down in the same way,” said Dolly.

“So have I,” added Sam Spottwood.

“Main and mizzen,” followed Chick Penny, reading from his book.

Half a dozen of the students said the same thing, after consulting their
notes taken on the spot.

“I have it so, sir; and I thought it was a mistake. I was going to ask
you about it, but I did not get a chance to do so,” said Dick Short.

“I shall have to give it up,” replied the principal; “and I cheerfully
acknowledge that you are right, and I am wrong. I must have said so,
since you prove that I did. A person sometimes says a thing exactly
opposite from what he means. I must ask you to correct the record, and
write it down, that, in a vessel with two masts, the terms are fore and
main. You mean a square-sail above the spanker on the mainmast of a
brig; though you are not responsible for making it the mizzen, Dorset.”

“Yes, sir. I saw a picture in an old book with such a sail on the
mainmast,” replied the student.

“I have seen such a sail once or twice in my life at sea; but it is not
common, especially at the present day. The ordinary gaff-topsail, if any
sail is to be set above the spanker on a brig, could present quite as
much surface, and be more easily handled.”

Another student raised his hand, and the principal was going to give him
permission to speak, when the door of the schoolroom was opened, and Mr.
Brookbine, rifle in hand, and leading Mr. Michael Angelo Spickles by the
arm, marched into the room. He made his way directly to the platform
where the captain stood. Of course, this arrival made a decided
sensation among the students, though they did not indulge in any
demonstration.

“I beg your pardon, Captain Gildrock, for bringing this gentleman here,
but I could not find any one below to take charge of him while I sent
for you,” said the master-carpenter; for he knew that the principal did
not like any thing sensational in the presence of the students.

“You are excusable under the circumstances, Mr. Brookbine,” replied the
captain. “Very likely the students will be glad to see the gentleman, if
that is what you call him.”




“I suppose that is what he calls himself.”

“But where is Dory, Mr. Brookbine?” asked the principal, with more
anxiety in his tones than he was in the habit of displaying when any
thing troubled him.

“He is all right, sir. He has gone with Mr. Jepson to follow this matter
up a little further,” replied the carpenter.

Captain Gildrock smiled, for his anxiety was relieved. He turned from
the instructor to the prisoner he had brought, and whose face he had not
noticed before. Possibly it was to some extent an affectation for him to
appear to be unmoved, whatever happened; and he had hardly noticed the
carpenter and his prisoner when they entered the room.

“Good-morning, Mr. Spickles. I see that you have done me the honor to
call again, and I shall endeavor to appreciate your courtesy,” said the
captain, when he recognized his visitor of the day before.

“I did not come of my own accord this time, and no compliments are in
order,” growled Spickles.

“This visit is quite unexpected. I remember that you seemed to feel a
lively interest in my safe in the office; and you have proved to your
satisfaction that it is not a wooden one,” continued Captain Gildrock.
“I must confess that I am greatly surprised to find a young gentleman
with your brilliant ideas engaged in blowing open safes.”

“Here is a pocket-book which was taken from him,” interposed the
carpenter, as he handed it to the principal. “I did not tell you that
this was the chief of the burglars, but such is the fact.”

The captain opened the pocket-book, and took the wet bills from it.

“These were the bills in the safe, without any doubt; and I am fortunate
to recover them. Every dollar stolen is here. You have made a bad
investment, Mr. Spickles.”

“The storm was against my side of the question. If it had not been for
that, you would never have seen your money again,” muttered Spickles,
who appeared to think that an apology for his failure was due.

“Then, I ought to be grateful for the storm,” added the principal. “I
suppose the young gentleman who called with you yesterday assisted you
in this delicate operation.”

“I don’t answer questions,” growled the burglar.

“Perhaps Mr. Brookbine will be more communicative,” said the captain,
turning to the instructor in carpentry.

“I don’t know much about the others, only from what Dory said to me. He
told me about his dealings with these fellows; and as usual, he has
acted like a hero,” replied the instructor.

At this remark, there was a burst of applause, and all the students
manifested the most intense interest in the proceedings. The principal
looked at them, and perhaps he thought it would be cruel not to gratify
their excited curiosity to know the particulars of the capture of the
burglar.

“Mr. Spickles will be more comfortable if you remove the cords that bind
him; and I will invite him to take a seat on the platform by my side,”
continued Captain Gildrock, as he placed a chair for the culprit. “I
trust he will not make it necessary for me to put my hands upon him.”

Mr. Brookbine released the prisoner, and put him in the chair assigned
to him. If he thought of escaping, the stalwart forms of the principal
and the master-carpenter were sufficiently formidable to intimidate him.
Mr. Brookbine was then invited to explain what had happened during his
absence, and to do it so that all the students could hear him. The boys
were delighted at this unexpected privilege, and they listened with the
deepest interest to the narrative of Dory’s doings since he left the
school early in the morning. When the result of his battle in the boat
with the chief was reached, the students applauded lustily, and the
principal did not check them. With only a little less dignity he would
have done the same himself.

“Then, Dory has gone to look after the schooner, has he?” asked Captain
Gildrock, when the narrative was finished.

“Yes, sir: he and Mr. Jepson left me, to attend to this matter.”

“I hope they don’t intend to capture the schooner,” added the principal,
with a smile. “Dory is a prudent young man, and I don’t expect him to
undertake any Munchausen adventures.”

“He said he was going to watch the schooner: he did not say he intended
to capture the vessel,” replied the carpenter.

“How many persons were there on board of the schooner, Randolph?” asked
the principal.

“Five in all, all members of the Nautifelers Club,” replied Matt.

“The Nautifelers Club will not exist much longer. Under the present
circumstances, we will defer the lecture on sailing to another day. The
gale has subsided, and we will attend to the practical part of the
lesson. Randolph, you will take your class in the Lily; Glovering, you
may take Dory’s class in his absence; the rest of you will man the two
steamers.”

This announcement was received with applause, and Mr. Brookbine was
instructed to take his prisoner to the lock-up.

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