THE JOLLY ROGER

When I say that Chub arrived “bag and baggage,” I mean every word of it.

It was a delightful afternoon–July was almost a week old–and Roy,
pausing before his front door and fumbling for his latch-key, looked
westward along the street into a golden haze of sunlight. And as he
looked, suddenly there appeared, huge and formless in the sunset glow,
something that arrested his attention. For a moment he couldn’t make it
out, but presently, with a rattle of wheels, it drew near and resolved
into a “four-wheeler” piled high with luggage. It pulled up at the
curb before the door, and Chub leaped out, bringing with him numerous
packages.

“Hello,” greeted Roy; “come to spend the rest of your days with us? Why
didn’t you bring the grand piano? Or is it in the big trunk there?”

Chub grinned and directed the transfer of his belongings from cab to
house. There was a small steamer trunk, a whopping wicker trunk, a suit
case, a case containing fishing rods, a case containing a shot-gun,
three brown paper parcels, an umbrella, and a rain coat. The largest
trunk was placed in the rear hall down-stairs, but the other things
were carried up to Chub’s room. And when the confusion was over and the
cabman, liberally rewarded, had rattled away, Chub deigned to explain.

“Isn’t that a raft of stuff?” he asked, throwing himself into a chair.
“You see, Roy, after I’d got all packed up I came across two or three
things I thought would be nice for the boat, and as there wasn’t time
to do anything else, I just wrapped them up and brought them along.
That big bundle is a corn and asparagus boiler, and–”

“A _what_?”

“Corn and asparagus boiler. It’s a great thing. I found it in the
kitchen cupboard. It’s sort of oblong, you know, and there’s a tray
that lifts out with the corn on it when it’s done. You see, we’re
likely to have a lot of green corn and I was pretty sure we didn’t have
anything big enough to cook it in. Good idea, wasn’t it?”

“Splendid!” said Roy. “Did they know you were taking it?”

“They do by this time,” laughed Chub. “I forget whether I made any
special mention of it. There were so many things at the last moment,
you see. That littlest bundle is a barometer. Every boat ought to have
a barometer, so I borrowed it from the front porch. And the other–”

“Oh, you needn’t tell me,” sighed Roy. “I know what’s in that. It’s a
sewing machine.”

“You run away and play! It’s a pair of white canvas shoes. I found them
after the trunks had gone and there wasn’t room for them in the bag.”

“And, without wishing to appear unduly inquisitive,” said Roy, “may I
ask what the large trunk down-stairs contains? You said it wasn’t the
piano, I believe?”

“I’ll show you after dinner,” answered Chub. “I’ve got a lot of useful
things in there. What time is it? After six? Then I must wash off some
of this dust. My! it was a grimy old trip.”

“It must have been. How are the folks?”

“Splendid! They’re getting ready to go to the Water Gap. My, but I’m
glad I don’t have to go too! I suppose, though, I’ll have to go there
for a while in September. Is the boat done yet? Have you seen it?”

After dinner Dick appeared and Chub solved the mystery of the wicker
trunk. The entire household gathered in the back hall while he
displayed his treasures.

“What do you say to those?” asked Chub, pulling four sofa cushions out.
“They’ll be just the thing for the window-seat in the forward cabin,
eh?”

“We’ve got pillows for that window-seat,” said Dick.

“How many?” asked Chub, scathingly. “About six! We need a lot. Mother
said I could have these just as well as not for the summer, so I bagged
them. And look here! Camp-stools, don’t you see? You open them out
like–like this–no, like this!–yes, this must be the way they go–how
the dickens?–there we are! See? When we don’t need them they fold up
out of the way–_ouch!_” Chub had folded one of his fingers in the
operation.

“They’re fine!” laughed Roy. “We can use them on the roof.”

“Upper deck, please,” Dick requested. “What’s the red blanket, Chub?”

“That’s a steamer rug, and it’s a fine one. Feel the warmth of it. I
thought maybe we’d want extra covers some time. And there’s an old
foot-ball–”

“What’s that for?” asked Roy.

“Oh, we may want to kick it around some time when we’re ashore. It’ll
be something to do. And this is an old sweater; I thought I’d just
bring it along. And here’s a small ice-cream freezer. It only makes a
quart, but that’ll be enough, I guess. And that’s a bag of salt. Mother
thought I might as well bring it as buy new.”

By this time the audience was frankly hilarious.

“But do you know how to make ice-cream, Chub?” asked Mrs. Porter.

“Oh, anybody can make ice-cream,” he answered carelessly. “You just
mix some cream and sugar and flavoring stuff up and freeze it. I’ve
seen our cook do it lots of times. Here’s my electric torch. That’ll
be handy, you’ll admit. And here’s a collapsible bucket. It’s great! I
saw it in a store window one day. See how it folds up when you aren’t
using it? That’s a box of soap; I knew you fellows would forget to put
soap on your list.”

Neither Dick nor Roy had anything to say; they _had_ forgotten.

“Those are some books I want to read. Have you read that one, Roy?
It’s a thriller! Take it along with you. It’ll keep you awake half the
night. These old trousers I thought might come in handy in case anyone
fell in the water.”

“Dear me!” exclaimed Roy’s mother. “You don’t expect to fall overboard
do you?”

“No, Mrs. Porter, but you never can tell what will happen,” replied
Chub, wisely. “Those are shells for the shot-gun and that’s my
fly-book. I should think we might find some good fishing, eh? Here’s
a ‘first aid’ case. Mother insisted on my bringing that. I don’t know
what’s in it, but I suppose there’s no harm having it along. Here are
some curtains; I used to have them in my room until they got faded. I
thought maybe we’d find a place for them. And this is an extra blanket.
I just put it in so that the bottom of the trunk would be soft. And
a hair pillow; it’s rather soiled, but that’s just shoe-dressing I
spilled on it once. The laundress couldn’t get it all out. And I guess
that’s all except this thermometer. Oh, the mischief! The plaguey
thing’s broken! Throw it away. It was just a cheap one, anyhow. There,
that’s the lot. What do you say?”

“I don’t know how we’d have got along without those things, Chub,”
said Roy, very, very earnestly. “How we could have expected to go on a
cruise without a foot-ball and a hair pillow and a collapsible bucket–”

“And a pair of old trousers and a thermometer,” added Dick.

“I don’t see. Do you Dick?” Dick shook his head gravely.

“We must have been crazy,” he said, sadly.

“Oh, you say what you like!” responded Chub. “You’ll find that all
these things will come in mighty handy before we get back.”

“Of course,” said Roy, “even if we have to load them in another boat
and tow it along behind.”

“Oh, get out; there’s plenty of room for this truck. You fellows are
just jealous because you didn’t think of them.”

“I quite approve of the ice-cream freezer,” remarked Mr. Porter, “but I
don’t just see how you’re going to work it without the dasher.”

“_What!_” exclaimed Chub. “Didn’t I put that in?”

“Well, I don’t see it anywhere; do you?” Then followed a wild search
for the dasher. At last Chub gave it up and looked a trifle foolish.

“I remember now,” he muttered. “I took it out of the can so that it
wouldn’t rattle around. I–I must have forgotten to pack it.”

He joined good-naturedly in the laugh that arose.

“Anyhow,” he said presently, “I dare say we can get along without
ice-cream. It’s a bother to have to freeze it. And maybe we can use the
tub as a bucket and keep something in the can; we could keep our milk
in it.”

“I imagine that most of the milk we’ll have will come in cans,” said
Roy. “You don’t expect fresh milk, do you?”

“I surely do. We can buy it at the farm-houses.”

“Condensed milk is cheaper, though,” said Dick, “because you don’t
have to use much sugar with it.”

“Listen to Dickums!” jeered Chub. “He’s getting economical!”

It was finally decided to leave the ice-cream freezer behind, and the
bag of salt was donated to Mrs. Porter “as a slight testimonial of
esteem from the master and crew of the _Jolly Roger_.” Then the boys
went up to Roy’s room and sat there very late, planning and discussing.

The next morning found them at the wharf bright and early, even
Chub disdaining for once what he called his “beauty sleep.” The
wharf belonged to a company in which Mr. Porter was interested and
accommodations for the _Jolly Roger_ had been gladly accorded. She lay
in the slip looking very clean and neat. The new coat of paint had
worked wonders in her appearance. Each of the boys had brought a suit
case filled with things, and Chub carried besides the two camp-stools
and a large crimson pillow. And while they are aboard unloading let us
look over the house-boat.

[Illustration: The boys arrive at the wharf]

At first glance the _Jolly Roger_ looked like a scow with a little
one-story white cottage on top, and a tiny cupola at one end of
that. The hull was thirty-three feet long and thirteen feet wide and
drew about four feet. There was a bluntly curving bow and the merest
suggestion of a stern, but had it not been for the white cupola on top,
which was in reality a tiny wheel-house, it would have been difficult
to decide which was the bow end and which the stern end of the craft.
The hull was painted pea-green to a point just above the water-line.
Beyond that there was a strip of faded rose-pink, and then a narrow
margin of white. The decks were gray, or had been at one time, the
house and railings were white and the window and door trimming was
green. So she didn’t lack for color.

Small as the boat was she was well built and, in spite of having been
in use for several years, was in first-rate condition. It was nothing
short of a miracle that so many rooms and passages and cubbyholes were
to be found on her. Chub, in commenting on this feature, had said once:

“If you gave this hull to a regular carpenter and told him to build
one room and a closet on it he’d be distracted. And if he did do it
he’d have the closet sticking out over the water somewhere. But just
look what a boat-builder does! He makes three rooms, a kitchen, and an
engine compartment, all sorts of closets and cupboards, puts a roof
garden and a pilot-house on top and runs a piazza all around it! Why,
a fellow I know at home has a little old launch about twenty feet long
and six feet wide and I’m blessed if he hasn’t pretty nearly everything
inside of her except a ball-room! I’m blamed if I see how they do it!”

On the _Jolly Roger_, beginning forward, there was a living-room nine
feet by ten. There were five one-sash windows in it, two on each
side and one in front. Under the front window and running from side
to side was a broad window-seat comfortably upholstered and supplied
with pillows. Between two of the windows was a bookcase, in one corner
was a cabinet holding a talking-machine and records, in the center of
the room was a three-foot round table, and three wicker chairs were
distributed about. Forward, in front of the window, a tiny spiral
stairway of iron led up into the wheel-house above. It had been decided
that if Harry and her father or mother joined them, a cot-bed was
to be placed in this room, which, with the window-seat, would give
accommodations for two persons. The living room gave into a narrow
passage which traversed the boat. Across the passage at the other end
was a door leading into a little bedroom, nine feet by five. This held
a three-foot brass bedstead, one chair, and a lavatory. Above the bed
drawers and shelves and a mirror had been built.

Back of the bedroom, opening from the deck, was the engine-room. The
engine was of six horse-power and a very good one, in spite of Mr.
Cole’s aspersions. The gasolene tank was on the roof above. The _Jolly
Roger_ had a guaranteed speed of five miles an hour, but the boys
soon discovered that the guaranteed speed and the actual speed didn’t
agree by a whole mile. The engine-room had no window but was lighted
by a deadlight set in the roof. Beyond the engine-room, on the other
side of the boat, was a tiny kitchen, or, as the boys preferred to
call it, galley. This opened into the after cabin and was so small
that one person entirely filled it. But in spite of its size it was a
model of convenience. There was an oil-stove, a sink–you forced water
from a tank under the deck by means of a little nickel-plated pump–an
ice-chest, shelves for dishes, hooks overhead for pots and kettles,
cupboards underneath for supplies and a dozen other conveniences. As
Dick said, all you had to do was to stand in front of the sink and
reach for anything you wanted. There was a window above the sink and
Dick discovered that it was very handy to throw potato peelings and
such things out of.

The remaining apartment was a room nine by seven which the owner had
used principally to store his painting materials in. Previously it had
contained only a cupboard, table, chair, and a small, green chest. But
now two cot-beds were established on opposite sides. There wasn’t much
room left, but it was quite possible to move around and to reach the
galley. This after cabin opened on to the rear deck, about five feet
broad, from whence a flight of steps led up to the roof, or, again
quoting the boys, the upper deck.

This was one of the best features of the little craft. It was covered
with canvas save where panes of thick glass gave light to the rooms
below, and was railed all around. Outside the railing were green
wooden boxes for flowers. Last summer these had been filled with
geraniums and periwinkle and had made a brave showing. And the boys
had decided that they would have them so again. Stanchions held a
striped awning which covered the entire deck. At the forward end was
the wheel-house, a little six by four compartment glassed on all sides,
in which was a steering wheel–the boat could also be steered from
the engine-room–various pulls for controlling the engine, a rack for
charts, a clock, and a comfortable swivel chair. Near the stairs there
was a little cedar tender, but this was usually towed astern. Stowed
away below were some inexpensive rugs which belonged up here, and three
willow chairs and a willow table. A side ladder led from the upper
deck to the lower so that one could get quickly from engine-room to
wheel-house. Topping the latter was a short pole for a flag. Such was
the house-boat _Jolly Roger_, Eaton, master.

“Tell you what I’m going to do,” said Dick, when they had unloaded
their bags and distributed the contents. “I’m going to try the engine.
We’d better find out as soon as we can whether she’s going to run.”

“What do you mean?” asked Roy, anxiously. “Go monkeying around here
among all these ferry-boats and things?”

But Dick explained that his idea was to keep the boat tied up. So they
looked to their two lines which ran from bow and stern and Dick slipped
into the engine-room. Presently there was a mild commotion at the stern
of the boat which gradually increased as Dick advanced the spark. The
lines tightened, but held, and Roy and Chub joined the engineer.

“How does she go?” asked Chub.

“All right,” Dick answered, cheerfully. The engine was chugging away
busily and Dick was moving about it with his oil-can. “I didn’t have
any trouble starting it. I don’t believe Mr. Cole knows much about
engines.” There was a tone of superiority in Dick’s voice that caused
the others to smile, recalling, as they did, his own vast ignorance of
the subject less than a year ago. The summer before Dick had purchased
a small launch and what he now knew of gas engines had been learned in
the short space of a few months’ experience chugging about Ferry Hill
in the _Pup_.

“Oh, Mr. Cole always said he didn’t understand that engine,” answered
Roy. “Turn her off, Dick, or we’ll break away from the dock.”

“Wait till I see how she reverses,” said Dick.

“Well, start her back easy,” Chub cautioned, glancing anxiously at the
lines which held them to the wharf. So Dick slowed the engine down and
then threw back the clutch. The _Jolly Roger_ obeyed beautifully, and
Dick was finally persuaded to bring the trial to an end. Then they went
over the boat again.

“If Harry brings her mother with her,” said Roy, “they’ll have to have
this room.” They were in the forward cabin or living room. “We can put
up a cot along here for Mrs. Emery and Harry can have the window-seat!”

“That’s all right,” said Chub, “but the only place to wash is in
the bedroom. We’ll have to put a bowl and pitcher in here, and a
looking-glass, too; ladies can’t get along without a looking-glass.”

“If her father comes with her,” said Dick, “Harry can have the bedroom,
Doctor Emery can sleep in here on the cot and one of us fellows can
have the window-seat. Then the other two can sleep in the after cabin.”

“Where’ll we eat our meals?” Roy asked. They looked at each other in
perplexity.

“Mr. Cole ate in the after cabin,” said Chub, finally, “but there isn’t
room there with those two cots set up.”

“I tell you,” said Dick. “While we’re alone we’ll take the cots out of
the after cabin and use it for a dining-room. Roy can have the cot in
here and I’ll sleep on the window-seat. Chub can have the bedroom; he’s
captain, you know.”

“That’s a good scheme,” answered Roy, “but how about when the others
come?”

“Oh, we’ll fix it somehow. Besides, maybe they won’t come. We haven’t
heard a word from Harry yet.”

“Well, the letter had to be forwarded from Ferry Hill to her aunt’s,
I suppose,” explained Roy. “We’ll probably hear from her to-day or
to-morrow. Half the time we’ll be tied up to the shore, any way, and we
can easily enough set that little table on the ground.”

“Maybe there’d be room for it on the rear deck,” suggested Dick. “Kind
of under the stairs, you know. Let’s go and see.”

A survey of the space showed that the plan was quite feasible,
especially as Dick volunteered to sit on the railing.

“There’s another thing we’ll have to have,” said Chub, “and that’s a
place to wash when Harry’s with us. Suppose we haul that little green
chest out here and put a tin basin on it. We could bring water from the
kitch–the galley.”

“That’s all right,” laughed Roy, “but why not use your precious folding
bucket and dip the water out of the river?”

“I hadn’t thought of that,” Chub responded. “That’s a good scheme.
We’ll hang it on a nail, over the basin.”

“Where the mischief are we going to keep those extra cots when we’re
not using them?” Dick asked.

“I found just the place for them,” Chub replied. “We’ll lean them up in
the passage beyond the bedroom door and keep the outside door at that
end closed. We don’t need to use it anyway.”

Other problems were solved, and then luncheon, which they had brought
with them, was spread on the table in the forward cabin and they set
to with a will. Before they had finished the florist appeared on the
scene with geraniums and periwinkle for the flower boxes. By the time
he had transferred the plants from pots to the boxes along the edge of
the upper deck, he had managed to mess the new white paint up pretty
badly and the boys spent the better part of half an hour cleaning up
with water and brushes. By that time it was well toward the middle of
the afternoon and they were quite ready to go home.

“If we can get the rest of the supplies in to-morrow morning,” observed
Chub as he locked the last door and slipped the key in his pocket, “I
don’t see why we shouldn’t start to-morrow after luncheon instead of
waiting until the next morning. We could easily get up the river far
enough to spend the night. What do you think?”

Both Roy and Dick were quite as eager to get off as he was, and it was
agreed that if the groceries arrived in time they would begin their
cruise at one o’clock on the morrow. When they reached Roy’s house they
found a letter from Harry. Roy read it aloud.

Miss Emery accepts with pleasure the kind invitation of Messrs.
Chub, Roy, and Dick, and will be ready to embark on the _Jolly
Roger_ at Ferry Hill at the time appointed.

P. S. Isn’t it lovely? Mama says I can come home the 20th and
papa will go with me, although he says we can’t stay with you
more than two weeks. But perhaps you didn’t want us for more
than that. Did you? Do you think I might take Snip along? He
will behave beautifully. Aunt Harriet says I’m certain to be
drowned and wants me to carry a life preserver around in my
hand all the time. Isn’t that funny? She’s taught me to make
pie-crust and so I’ll make you all the pies you want. Won’t
that be fine? I can make three kinds: apple, cherry, rhubarb. I
can make mince, too, if I have the mincemeat. Don’t forget to
write at once and let me know when you will get to Ferry Hill.
Remembrances to Chub and Dick.

Yours truly, HARRY.

“Well, I’m rather glad it’s the Doctor that’s coming and not Mrs.
Emery,” said Dick. “Mrs. Emery is charming and kind, but a man will be
less trouble. Hello, what’s the matter with you, Chub?”

Chub was gazing into space with an ecstatic smile on his face.

“Me?” he asked, coming out of his trance. “Nothing! I was just thinking
of those pies!”

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