Tom Fairfield at Sea; or, The Wreck of the Silver Star

Tom Fairfield at Sea; or, The Wreck of the Silver Star

Author:
Allen Chapman
Author:
Allen Chapman
Format:
epub
language:
English

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Author: Chapman, Allen
Sea stories
Boys — Juvenile fiction
Shipwrecks — Juvenile fiction
Castaways — Juvenile fiction
Tom Fairfield at Sea; or, The Wreck of the Silver Star



HE WAS THE LAST ONE IN, AND ARRANGED TO CUT A SINGLE ROPE THAT HELD THE BOAT FAST.


Tom Fairfield at Sea

Or
The Wreck of the Silver Star
BY
ALLEN CHAPMAN
AUTHOR OF “TOM FAIRFIELD’S SCHOOLDAYS,” “TOM FAIRFIELD IN
CAMP,” “THE DAREWELL CHUMS SERIES,” “THE
BOYS OF PLUCK SERIES,” ETC.
ILLUSTRATED
NEW YORK
CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY
PUBLISHERS


BOOKS FOR BOYS
BY ALLEN CHAPMAN
TOM FAIRFIELD SERIES
12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.
TOM FAIRFIELD’S SCHOOLDAYS
Or, The Chums of Elmwood Hall
TOM FAIRFIELD AT SEA
Or, The Wreck of the Silver Star
TOM FAIRFIELD IN CAMP
Or, The Secret of the Old Mill
TOM FAIRFIELD’S PLUCK AND LUCK
Or, Working to Clear His Name
THE DAREWELL CHUMS SERIES
12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.
THE DAREWELL CHUMS
THE DAREWELL CHUMS IN THE CITY
THE DAREWELL CHUMS IN THE WOODS
THE DAREWELL CHUMS ON A CRUISE
THE DAREWELL CHUMS IN A WINTER CAMP
BOYS OF PLUCK SERIES
12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.
THE YOUNG EXPRESS AGENT
TWO BOY PUBLISHERS
MAIL ORDER FRANK
A BUSINESS BOY’S PLUCK
THE YOUNG LAND AGENT
Cupples & Leon Co. Publishers, New York

Copyrighted 1913, by
Cupples & Leon Company


Tom Fairfield’s Schooldays
Printed in U. S. A.


CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
I. Startling News 1
II. Tom to the Rescue 12
III. A Mysterious Passenger 20
IV. A Puzzled Captain 28
V. The Waterspout 37
VI. Seen in the Glass 46
VII. The Storm 52
VIII. A Blow in the Dark 61
IX. Tom Goes Overboard 69
X. The Derelict 76
XI. Another Passenger 86
XII. A Mutual Surprise 95
XIII. Under Sail 105
XIV. Dreary Days 111
XV. Making a Boat 120
XVI. Wind and Wave Tossed 129
XVII. A Hand in the Night 137
XVIII. Treachery 144
XIX. Off in the Boat 152
XX. Days of Suffering 162
XXI. “Sail Ho!” 171
XXII. News of the Missing 179
XXIII. Off to the Island 188
XXIV. The Castaways 194
XXV. Homeward Bound—Conclusion 202

TOM FAIRFIELD AT SEA

CHAPTER I
STARTLING NEWS

“Where to now, Jack?”
“Oh, I just thought I’d run into town and see what’s going on, Tom. Want to come along?”
“I’d like to—but this Latin—”
“Oh, bother the Latin!” and Jack Fitch, the chum and roommate of Tom Fairfield, snatched the book from the scarcely resisting grasp of his friend. “Come along. You’re up well enough. Besides, we haven’t that old tyrant Skeel to deal with now in the classics.”
“That’s so. Guess I will go. Think it’ll be safe?”
“As safe as running the guard ever is, Tommy my boy,” and Jack assumed a wise air. “Probably there’ll be some of the proctor’s scouts out, but if we can’t fool ’em, after we’ve put in nearly a year at Elmwood Hall, I wouldn’t give much for our ability.”
“Right you are, Jack! Shall we tip off some of the others? Bert Wilson would like to come along, I know.”

“All right, I’ll give him the high sign. Shall we take the human question box?”
“Who, Georgie Abbot? Might as well. He isn’t as bad as he used to be, though he’s bad enough. Four will be just about right. Got anything special on, the reason you want to go to town?”
“No. But there’s a good musical comedy there, I hear.”
“How’s the weather? Is it raining yet?”
“Clear as a bell,” reported Jack, as he poked his head out of the window of their room. “Now I’ll take a look to see if the coast is clear, and get Bert and George while you put your collar on,” for Tom, to be at more ease while he was studying, had adopted a sort of negligee costume.
Gliding out into the hall, Jack knocked cautiously at the door of the adjoining room, giving a certain signal.
“Well?” whispered a voice at the keyhole.
“Come on into town, Bert,” whispered Jack in return, for caution was necessary, since it was past the hour for the Freshmen to go about as they pleased, to each other’s rooms, and long past the time when they might leave their dormitory without permission.
“What’s up?” asked Bert, as he opened his door a crack.
“Tom Fairfield and I are going to take in a show. I’ll get George, and we’ll have some fun. Cut down through the basement when you’re ready, and we’ll meet just outside the boiler room. Our studious janitor won’t give us away.”
“No, old Demy Miller will be so busy over his Latin or Greek, trying to be the king pin among studious janitors, that he won’t even see us. Go get ‘Why.’ I’ll be on hand in a minute.”
Jack glided to a room on the other side of his own and his chum’s, and repeated the tapping signal.
“Well?” queried George Abbot, otherwise ‘Why.’
“Come on to town?”
“What for? Who’s going? What are we going to do? Is it safe?”
“Say, if you fire any more questions at me,” whispered Jack hoarsely, “I know one lad who won’t be going, and that’s you, Why! Now hush up and come along. Tom, Bert and I are going to cut in.”
“All right, I’ll be with you directly.”
Jack glided back into his own apartment, and only just in time to escape the keen eyes of a patroling monitor. But he did get inside safely, and breathlessly.
“What’s up?” asked Tom.
“Denton-is-out-there. But I-guess he won’t stay-long.”

Cautious observations through the keyhole proclaimed this for a fact a little later, and soon Tom and Jack were tiptoeing down to the basement. There they met George and Bert, and the four were soon on their way to town, cutting across the campus in such a direction as to conceal their movements.
It was rather a cool evening toward the close of March, and there had been a drizzling rain all day. Now it had cleared, coming off cold, and Jack, realizing this had felt a restlessness that could not be satisfied unless he was doing something—something forbidden, by all preference.
Tom, Jack, and a number of their intimate friends were approaching the close of their Freshman year at Elmwood Hall. They had gone through the sports of the fall—football and the like, the Christmas vacation had come and gone, and now the Easter holiday was approaching.
When that was over the spring term would open—the closing term at the school—and Tom would soon be in line as a Sophomore. But much was to happen before he could count himself a second-year student.
“Think anyone will catch us?” asked George Abbot, who never could seem to stop asking questions.
“What if they do, you old interrogation point?” inquired Tom.

“Nothing, only I don’t want to be expelled just when the Freshman year is so nearly over.”
“Don’t worry. Just trust to me,” spoke Jack. “I’m running this outfit, and we’re not going to be caught.”
“There’s someone now—just ahead of us!” suddenly exclaimed Bert, drawing back. The others instinctively paused.
“No danger!” called Tom, who was a little in advance of his chums. “It’s our friend Bennington.”
“Hello, Tom Fairfield!” greeted a voice out of the darkness. “Whither away?”
“Into town on a lark. Want to come along?”
“Thanks, no. Remember I’m a grave and reverend Senior, and not a giddy Freshman like yourself. I have a reputation to maintain, and I can’t afford to take any chances with my graduation in prospect. I’d like to though. I’ll see that you get in safely, however, in case there’s any danger.”
“Thanks,” called our hero, Tom, as he and his chums passed on, while Bruce Bennington, a Senior whom Tom had aided in a peculiar way during the former term, headed toward Elmwood Hall.
“He’s a great chap,” commented Bert.
“He sure is,” agreed Jack. “And he’s a heap sight different than he was before Tom found the forged note that Skeel held over him.”
“I’m glad I was able to help him,” said Tom. “Come on, now, fellows, sprint for it. I think I hear a car coming.”
They broke into a run, and a little later had boarded an electric vehicle that ran near the preparatory school, and into the town of Elmwood proper.
“Look who’s here,” spoke Jack to Tom in a low voice, as they took their seats, and he nodded toward the far corner of the car.
“Who?” asked Tom, and then he added: “Oh, Sam Heller.”
“And Nick Johnson is with him,” went on Jack.
“Well, I guess they won’t make any trouble for us,” said Tom, for the two lads had been, and still were, his enemies.
“Unless they squeal on us,” suggested Bert Wilson.
“They’re just as much in the fire as we are,” protested Jack.
“They may have gotten permission to go to town,” came from George Abbot.
“Not much!” asserted Tom. “They cut for it the same as we did, and they won’t say anything.”
Sam Heller and his crony glanced over at our friends, but said nothing, and the car continued on its way. Soon it was in town, and Tom and his chums hurried to a theatre that the school boys patronized. They were a little late to see the start of the performance, but they did not mind that.
“Say, this is great!” exclaimed Bert as one “turn” after another was gone through with behind the footlights.
“Here comes a sleight-of-hand performer,” remarked Jack. “I always like to see them, even though I know they fake every trick.”
“Say! did you see that!” exclaimed George, as the man apparently picked cards out of mere air. “How does he do it?”
“Foolish question number eight hundred and forty-seven!” exclaimed Tom in a whisper. “If you ask three more you’ve reached your limit, and out you go!”
George subsided, and with the others watched the play, which was a sort of musical comedy, with vaudeville interspersed. The performance was over all too soon, and the boys started back toward school, after a round of sodas in a drug store.
“Well, we’ll soon be going home for the Easter vacation, and then the baseball season will open, when we get back,” spoke Jack. “Say, Tom, are you going to keep your promise, and spend Easter week with me?”
“Well, I don’t know, Jack. You see dad and mother wrote to me to go down in the country, and visit an old aunt of mine whom I haven’t seen for ages. I don’t see how I can make it to go to your place, much as I’d like it.”
“Are your folks still in Australia?” asked Bert.
“No, they’ve left there,” explained Tom. “They went there to look up some property a relative left to my father. They’ve been gone a long while now—at least it seems so to me, though the time has passed quickly enough while I’ve been here at Elmwood Hall.
“But I got a letter the other day, from dad, saying that the property matter was all settled satisfactorily, and that they had started for home.”
“Are they coming by way of Europe, as they planned?” asked Jack. “Cracky! Wouldn’t I like to see Europe, though!”
“No, they’ve changed their ideas,” replied Tom. “Dad and mother both thought they’d like a long voyage, so they took a large sailing vessel in the Australian trade that is to land them at San Francisco. Maybe I’ll go meet them if I can arrange it.”
“Coming on a sailing vessel; eh?” remarked Bert. “There aren’t many deep sea sailing ships any more.”
“No, and that’s one reason why dad wrote that he was taking the trip this way. He always has been fond of sailing and he thought he might not get another chance. So he and mother are on board the Kangaroo, somewhere out on the vasty deep at this moment—and I wish I was with them!”
Tom’s voice was a trifle husky, for he was a bit homesick for his parents, in spite of the good times he had had at Elmwood Hall.
Jack Fitch was looking over an evening paper he had purchased from a newsboy on coming out of the theatre.
“Anything interesting?” asked Bert.
“Not much. I was just glancing at the sporting page. I guess we’ll—”
Jack suddenly paused, and stared intently at a certain item on the printed sheet. Then he asked in a curious voice:
“What did you say was the name of the ship your people were sailing in, Tom?”
“The Kangaroo. Why?”
“Oh, er—nothing. I—say—New York is going to have a crackerjack baseball team this spring, if their manager gets all the players he’s after!” and Jack tried suddenly to change the subject.
Tom Fairfield reached over and took the paper from his chum’s hand. Jack tried to hold it back.
“Why did you ask that question—about the name of the ship my father and mother are in?” asked our hero, and there was a catch in his voice, and his face was white. “Why did you? You saw something! Show it to me!” he demanded.
“No, it—it wasn’t anything!” protested Jack. “Just a rumor. You shouldn’t bother about it. Those things are never true—at least it’s not confirmed—and—Oh I say Tom, it isn’t really anything!”
“Let me see it!” cried Tom hoarsely, amid a silence in the car as it sped along. “You’re trying to hold something back from me, Jack. Is the Kangaroo wrecked?”
“No, nothing like that!” he answered eagerly. “There, if you’ve got to see it!” and he pointed to a cable dispatch in the paper.
With staring eyes Tom read:

“Sydney, N. S. W., March 25.—The steamer Bristol, which reached this port to-day reports passing at sea, a week ago, in lat. S. 21:14:38, long. 179:47:16, wreckage from some large sailing vessel. Part of a lifeboat picked up bore the letters ‘ngaroo.’ It is surmised that it belonged to the large sailing ship Kangaroo which left this port for San Francisco last week with a mixed cargo, and several passengers. Captain Ward, of the Bristol, reports encountering heavy weather before sighting the wreckage. He cruised about in the vicinity for half a day, but saw no signs of life, and no trace of the vessel. The underwriters have posted the Kangaroo.”

Tom read this once, and then over again. Then he stared at the paper, his face white and his hands trembling.
“Maybe it isn’t true,” suggested Jack gently. “And, even if there was a wreck, maybe your folks were saved. Maybe they changed their minds at the last minute and didn’t sail. I wouldn’t worry if I were you.”
“I—I can’t help it,” whispered Tom. “Dad and mother are—missing! This is bad news—bad news!”
Jack put his arm around his chum.


CHAPTER II
TOM TO THE RESCUE

While the car is speeding back to Elmwood Hall, bearing Tom and his chums, and while our hero is endeavoring to bear up under the strain of the unexpected and bad news that came to him, I will take the opportunity to tell you something more about him and his friends.
As related in the first book of this series, entitled “Tom Fairfield’s Schooldays,” the reason why he went to Elmwood Hall was because his father and mother had to go to Sydney, Australia, to settle some business affairs about a valuable property inheritance. They did not want to take Tom with them, and so break up his schooling, so they picked out Elmwood Hall for him to attend.
The same day that Tom received the news about going to boarding school and heard that his parents were to start on a long trip, he met Bruce Bennington, who had motored out to where Tom lived, in Briartown. Bruce borrowed Tom’s boat for a row, and Tom was at once struck with the air of trouble that brooded over the student—for Bruce let it be known that he was a Senior at Elmwood Hall.
A little later, Tom started for the place of learning. Almost at the outset he made an enemy of Sam Heller and his crony Nick Johnson. But our hero also made friends, his chief one being Jack Fitch, with whom he roomed in Opus Manor, the dormitory of the Freshmen.
Doctor Pliny Meredith was head master of Elmwood Hall, and among the teachers was Dr. Livingston Hammond, a stout, jolly gentleman, sometimes called the “Live Wire.” Doctor Meredith was known as “Merry,” because, as Jack Fitch said, “he was so solemn,” though not at all grim or forbidding.
There was also a certain Professor Burton Skeel, who was counted one of the most unpleasant of instructors. It was he who had made trouble for Bruce Bennington, in the matter of a forged promissory note, which threatened to ruin the career of the Senior.
But Tom was able to help Bruce in an unexpected way, and get possession of the note. The duplicity of Mr. Skeel was exposed, and he left Elmwood Hall. Not before, however, he had been the cause of considerable trouble.
His treatment of the students was so harsh that Tom proposed that they go on “strike” against him, and refuse to enter his class room. They did, Tom leading the revolt.

Our hero also led the escape from the school, when the whole Latin division of the Freshman class was made prisoners. The boys intended to desert to town, and stay there until Mr. Skeel was removed, but they lost their way in a storm, and had to come back.
Tom, however, had prepared an effigy of the unpopular instructor, and in the midst of a blinding snowstorm this effigy was burned on the flag pole, Mr. Skeel trying in vain to stop the student’s fun.
Thus the strike was broken, and Tom and his chums won, a new Latin instructor being engaged, and Doctor Meredith, though somewhat startled by the curious revolt in his school, managed to get material from it for a paper which he read before a very learned society.
But it was not all unpleasantness and strikes during Tom’s time at the school. He had spreads, he took part in a big football game, and made a sensational run, and he was champion of his class in the annual skating race, though Sam Heller tried to trip him.
Mr. and Mrs. Brokaw Fairfield, Tom’s parents, had remained in Australia ever since September, when they went there, to settle up the matter of the property that had been left to them. Tom had spent the between-term vacations with Jack Fitch, but the Easter one, his parents wrote him, they wished him to spend with an aged aunt.
“And—and, maybe that’s the last letter I’ll ever get from them,” thought our hero gloomily.
He was, as I have said, on his way back to the Hall from the theatrical performance, when Jack Fitch had unexpectedly come upon the item of bad news.
“Say, maybe this is nothing but a newspaper yarn,” suggested Bert Wilson,

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