Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
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First published in Chums, Cassell & Co., London, 10 January 1920

This e-book edition: Roy Glashan's Library, 2023
Version Date: 2023-08-07

Produced by Keith Emmett and Roy Glashan

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The Quarrel

"COME on, Dick! I'll take you to Dell's for lunch; then we'll go down to the front and hire a launch, and whoop her up!"

As he spoke, young Perry Carter rang the bell violently; a grave-looking butler appeared.

"Where's my aunt, Hammond?" demanded Perry.

"She's out, sir."

"Hang the luck! I want some money. Got any, Hammond?"

"No, sir, not in the house, sir."

"You're about as much use as a sick headache!" retorted Perry rudely. Hammond looked at him a moment disapprovingly; then withdrew.

"Say, I've got to have some money, Dick," continued Perry. "The launch'll cost ten dollars. Wonder where aunt keeps her cash?"

He went across to the writing table at the far side of the big, handsomely furnished room, and began trying the drawers.

Dick Selby got up quickly.

"Quit that, Perry," he said. "You can't go helping yourself that way."

"Who says so?" retorted Perry. "Aunt Tillie always gives me all the money I want." As he spoke he took out a bunch of keys and began trying them in one keyhole after another. A lock clicked, the drawer opened, and he pounced on a packet of "greenbacks" (five-dollar bills) fastened with an elastic band.

"Whoop!" he cried. "Here's the goods! Ten—fifteen—twenty-five— Gee, fifty dollars! Some bust we'll have on this, Dick!"

"Not any for me, thank you, Perry," said Dick curtly.

"What in thunder do you mean, Dick?" demanded Perry angrily.

"Just what I say. You don't catch me helping you to spend stolen money."

Perry was across the room in two jumps. His face was crimson. Dick hit him hard on the jaw, but Perry flung both arms round him. Next moment the pair were stamping round the room, wrestling and fighting like two angry dogs.

They cannoned into a round table covered with silver ornaments. Over it went with a crash, and they on top of it. Perry was quite mad with rage. He was astride of Dick and trying to throttle him. But Dick, though smaller, was hard as nails; he drove his elbow up and caught Perry across the nose, making it stream with blood.

The door burst open, and in rushed Hammond. He seized Perry by the collar and dragged him to his feet. "Ain't you ashamed, sir? A-fighting with your guest!"

Perry turned on him like a fury, using language that made even the butler blush.

Dick cut in. "Say, shut your dirty mouth!" he snapped. "Here's your aunt coming."

Next moment a stout, over-dressed lady entered the room.

"Oh, my dear Perry!" she panted. "What is the matter? What have they been doing to you?"

"It's all your fault. Aunt Tillie!" snarled Perry. "What do you want to go 'way for and leave me without a cent?"

"But I gave you ten dollars only yesterday, Perry," wailed the good lady.

"That ain't to-day. I spent it yesterday," growled Perry sulkily. "Here, get out o' my way!"

He pushed past rudely, and, with his handkerchief to his nose, ran out of the room.

Miss Tillie Wayne wrung her fat hands.

"Oh, what is it all about, Mr. Selby?" she begged.

"Perry will tell you, Miss Wayne," said Dick shortly. "I must be going. Good-bye."


MR. SELBY, a quiet-looking lawyer with a keen face and a pair of straight, grey eyes, glanced humorously at the big black bruise which decorated Dick's left cheek.

"Where did you get that, Dick?"

"Had a bit of a scrap, father," replied Dick uncomfortably.

"Other fellow marked any?"

"I dare say," growled Dick.

Mr. Selby laughed. "A good licking wouldn't do Perry Carter any harm," he observed.

Dick's eyes widened. "How did you know, father?"

The other laughed again. "You've forgotten that I'm Miss Wayne's legal adviser, Dick. You weren't home before she'd rung me up and told me."

"She's a fool!" grumbled Dick.

"She certainly is," agreed his father. "And, being a fool, she's turning that boy Perry into a knave. Oh. I know all about it, Dick, and I'm real sorry that Mr. Carter ever left Perry in her care. I told him as much before he left for Europe."

"How long has he been gone?" asked Dick.

"More than five years. You see, he went out first in 1913, to do some work for the French Government. The war caught him, and they wouldn't let him come back. A man with his knowledge of marine engines was too valuable to them.

"Perry was only ten when his father went away," he continued; "now he's nearly sixteen."

"And hasn't seen his dad all this time?" put in Dick.

"Never once. Indeed, I reckon they'd hardly know one another if they met."

Dick grunted. "Mr. Carter won't be any too pleased when he does see him, I guess."

"I'm afraid he won't," replied Mr. Selby, shaking his head. "The boy's going from bad to worse. That silly old woman gives him ten times as much money as he ought to have, and never corrects him. Next thing that will happen, the police will have him, and then none of us will be able to help."

"They'd have had him to-day if they'd seen him," said Dick seriously. "The young fool was helping himself to his aunt's money."

Mr. Selby whistled softly. "Say, that's the limit, Dick. That settles it. I'll cable his dad before I'm an hour older."

The New Hand

PERRY CARTER was sprawling in a long chair with a book in his hand, a cigarette in his mouth and a box of chocolates beside him, when Hammond the butler came in and told him that Mr. Selby wished to see him.

"Bother the old fool!" grumbled Perry. "All right, Hammond; tell him he can come up."

"No more manners than a pig!" said Hammond to himself as he went down to the hall.

When Mr. Selby came in the boy did not even trouble to get up.

"What do you want?" he asked rudely.

There was an odd gleam in Mr. Selby's eyes for a moment, but it passed, and he sat down quietly and looked at Perry.

"Your father's coming home, Perry," he said.

Perry sat up straight and dropped his book. For once he looked startled.

"What's he coming for?" he demanded suspiciously.

"To see you, I suppose," was the answer. "I had a letter from him this morning in which he tells me he has started on a transport which arrives at Charlestown, South Carolina. You are to meet him there."

"I don't want to go there. I'd rather stay in New York," growled Perry.

"I'm afraid you have no choice in the matter. Your father's orders are that you are to leave to-morrow on the schooner Stella, and I am to see that you obey these orders."

"I won't go," snapped Perry. "I hate the sea."

"Then I guess you are in for a poor time, young fellow," said the lawyer quietly. "You see, your aunt leaves for Palm Beach to-morrow, and this house will be shut up. It's the Stella for you, or the streets."

Perry was furious. At first he refused to believe Mr. Selby, and rushed off to his aunt. But Mr. Selby had been before him, and had managed to scare her pretty thoroughly by telling her what her brother-in-law would say when he saw how she had spoilt Perry.

She wept, but told Perry it was quite true. Perry turned on her and abused her savagely; a mistake on his part, for she at last lost her temper and told him a few home truths. The upshot was that next morning a very sulky, but somewhat scared, youngster presented himself aboard the Stella, which was lying in a slip in the East River.

He was met by a square built, burly, bearded man, who wore a rough jersey, sea boots and a peaked cap. He did not look much like a yacht's skipper.

"Are you Captain Hyde?" demanded Perry.

"Aye, that's my name, youngster. And what may you want?"

"I'm Mr. Carter," said Perry importantly. "It's me you've got to take to Charlestown."

The other favoured Perry with a long, slow stare. He seemed to take in everything, from the boy's smart yachting cap down to his blue serge trousers and white deck shoes.

"Perry Carter, eh? Well, you don't favour your dad much."

"I didn't ask you to make personal remarks," snapped Perry. "I want to see my cabin."

Captain Hyde smiled. He gave a shout, and a boy came running up.

"Take the passenger to his cabin, Jim," he said.

"Yes sir," answered the boy. "This way."

As Perry followed he looked round, and thought to himself that the Stella was very small and rough looking for a yacht. There were no awnings or deck chairs. Down below the place was clean, but there was no luxury—hardly comfort. As for his cabin, it was a tiny box of a place with a shelf bunk. But his things were there, and he began to unpack, flinging everything about the place in his usual slack fashion.

Presently he realised the ship was moving. "Hallo, we're off!" he said, and stepped across to the door.

It would not open. He shook and banged it. No use: it was locked.

He looked for a bell; there was none. He shouted for all he was worth, but no one paid the least attention. He kicked the door savagely, but only hurt his toes. At last, quite exhausted with rage, he dropped back on his bunk. He felt the vessel heaving beneath him, and realised that she was out of the harbour and at sea.

Perry was not a good sailor, and he always ate too much. He began to feel very uncomfortable. Soon he was so deathly ill that he was beyond wondering what had happened or what was going to happen.


CAPTAIN HYDE regarded Perry with his quiet stare.

"You are quite right, my lad," he said; "this is not a yacht, at all. As a matter of fact, she is a fishing schooner, and we are bound for Cape Hatteras. We reckon to be away a month."

Perry glanced around the empty horizon. No land was in sight. The sun shone brightly, and the Stella ran southward under all plain sail. He went rather white.

"Then you've kidnapped me?" he said.

The skipper shrugged his shoulders. "Put it that way if you like. The truth is that your father, knowing the sort of life you were leading in New York, is giving you a chance to pull yourself together and show that you are not the absolute rotter you appear to be. Now it's up to you: you can pitch in and work with the rest, or you can sulk in your bunk.

"If I were you," he added significantly, "I'd work."

"I'm hanged if I'll work!" shouted Perry. "And as for my father being in this dirty business, I don't believe it. You wait till he comes home! He'll give you what for!"

Hyde smiled in his grave way.

"Just as you like," he said. But you are wrong about your father. Now, as you refuse to work, go below. We can't have loafers on deck."

Perry went below. He was in a furious rage. But sitting on a bunk in a room six feet square without even a book to read, is a dull job. He stuck it the rest of that day, but by next morning he felt as if he'd been in prison for a month. About ten, Captain Hyde saw him appear on deck.

"Thought better of it?" he said briefly. "Good! You see these ropes? Coil them up neatly like those over there. When you've done you can go down into the galley and help the cook."

"Help the cook!"

"That is what I said. I don't suppose you will be much use, but perhaps you can peel potatoes."

Perry hesitated. He was raging inwardly, but the thought of that stuffy, lonely cabin was not pleasant. He set sulkily to coiling the ropes. When, later, he went to the galley the cook made him scrub a dirty frying pan, and called him a "useless young nincompoop" when he failed to get all the grease off.

That was only the beginning. All day and every day he was kept at some job or other, and got sat upon all round because he made such a mess of things. At first he sulked steadily, but finding that there was no one to sympathise with him, gave that up and tried to talk to the crew. They answered, certainly, but gradually it dawned on him that they looked on him as a useless sort of young waster, and that no one in the schooner thought as much of him as they did of the ship's cat.

To Perry, who had always been absolute boss in his aunt's house and had been waited on hand and foot, this was galling beyond words. First, he felt sick; then he got angry.

"I'll show the fellows that I'm as good as they are," he growled to himself.

Next day the pans shone like silver, and actually wrung a word of reluctant praise from the cook. That evening Perry felt really hungry for the first time for years, and tucked into pork and beans like a good 'un. The skipper noticed, and smiled his slow smile.

A week passed. Perry had got his sea legs, and was beginning to be so interested in all around that he almost forgot to be angry. Then one morning he came on deck to see a low line of sandy coast in the distance, towards which the schooner was heading. He heard someone say that they were going to pick up their moorings.

Then he saw that a man was up in the crow's nest on the foremast. Everyone seemed to he looking out.

There was a shout; the schooner came up into the wind; Perry, staring over the side, heard the skipper calling to him.

"Can you row?" asked Captain Hyde.

"I can pull—a bit," replied Perry with unusual modesty.

"We'll try you. See those moorings? You can pull me across in the dinghy."

The light little dinghy was flopped over the low rail. The skipper slipped in deftly, but Perry made a mess of it, and came down on all fours. He heard the men laughing, and bit his lip with rage. He snatched up the oars and began to pull.

He had rowed on the Hudson, but never on the sea. There was a bit of a bobble, and next moment he caught a crab and went flat on his back in the bottom of the boat. Shrieks of joy from the ship; but the skipper spoke kindly.

"It's different on salt water," he said. I'll show you, and you can pull back."

Perry felt an odd sense of gratitude. Perched in the bow, he watched Captain Hyde pull. In a few moments they were close to a small buoy which bobbed on the waves.

"Lean over, and catch hold," ordered the skipper.

Perry was in the act of leaning over when he heard a loud shout, from the ship. At the same moment he was conscious of a great sail-like fin cutting the clear water and coming straight towards the dinghy. He stared in amazement. He could not imagine what it was, and he had never seen a fish travel so fast. For a moment he thought it was a shark, and shrank back. It was lucky he did so, for at the same moment Captain Hyde jerked the boat round with all his force.

Too late! There was a tremendous shock, a sharp rending sound, and suddenly there appeared between Perry and the skipper a long white ivory spear, which had been driven clean through the side of the boat.

For a couple of seconds Perry sat like a statue; he was so astonished he could not have moved for the very life of him. Suddenly he realised that the boat was heeling right over. He saw the skipper try to rise, but drop again with a groan. Next, he saw that blood was staining the leg of his trousers and dropping into the bottom of the boat.

The sight roused him. This brute, whatever it was, had wounded the skipper, the one person aboard who had been decent to him. A gust of rage seized him.

He looked round for some weapon and saw an axe lying in the bottom of the boat.

Like a flash he had grasped it and sprung to his feet. The boat was settling back again, for the monster was trying to withdraw his tusk. Perry raised the axe above his head and brought it down with all his force on the shining blue head of the great fish.

The blade was sharp us a razor. It sunk in up to the helve. Down went the fish, dragging the axe out of Perry's hands. The boat rocked violently, and the water came spouting in through the hole left by the withdrawal of the sword.

Perry snatched off his cap, made a ball of it, and thrust it into the hole. Turning, he was just in time to catch Captain Hyde, who had fainted and fallen across the side of the boat.

Panting with excitement, he was dragging the skipper into a safer position when a shadow crossed him, and there was the schooner right alongside. Almost before he knew what was happening, he and the skipper were lifted aboard; then the boat followed.

"Good for you, youngster!" came a hearty voice, and someone smacked him on the back. "Guess you've given that there swordfish a headache."

And Perry, so far from being insulted, felt a glow of pleasure running through every vein.

An hour later he was summoned into the skipper's cabin, where Captain Hyde lay in his bunk, rather pule, but otherwise quite himself.

"Well, Perry?" he said, looking up with a smile.

Perry stood stock still, staring. There was some new tone in the voice which touched him strangely.

The skipper laughed.

"Beginning to recognise me, kid?" he asked.

"You—you—you're not—" stammered Perry.

"I am, son: I'm your dad, and no one else."

For a moment Perry's head whirled; then he found himself grasping his father's hand.

"Forgive the trick I played on you, lad," said the captain; "but it was the only way.

"And," he added, "in spite of your aunt's foolishness, she hasn't quite spoilt my son. From the way you tackled that swordfish I'm inclined to think the metal rings true. Eh, lad?"

Perry couldn't speak. There were tears in his eyes; hut they were tears of joy, not rage.


Roy Glashan's Library
Non sibi sed omnibus
Go to Home Page
This work is out of copyright in countries with a copyright
period of 70 years or less, after the year of the author's death.
If it is under copyright in your country of residence,
do not download or redistribute this file.
Original content added by RGL (e.g., introductions, notes,
RGL covers) is proprietary and protected by copyright.