The Cruise of the O Moo
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Title: The Cruise of the O Moo
Author: Roy J. Snell
Release Date: February 1, 2013 [eBook #42040]
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Adventure Stories for Girls
Of the O Moo
ROY J. SNELL
The Reilly & Lee Co.
Printed in the United States of America
The Reilly & Lee Co.
All Rights Reserved
- CHAPTER PAGE
- I A Mysterious Tapping 7
- II The Blue Face in the Night 24
- III Lucile’s Quick Action Gas 36
- IV Trapped in the Old Museum 51
- V A Catastrophe Averted 65
- VI The Blue God 78
- VII The Mystery Deepens 90
- VIII A Strange Game of Hide-and-Go-Seek 103
- IX Someone Drops in from Nowhere 117
- X The Real Cruise Begins 131
- XI A Mysterious Adventure 148
- XII The O Moo Rides the Storm 161
- XIII Land at Last 177
- XIV “A Phantom Wireless” 191
- XV The Island’s Secret 202
- XVI An Unexpected Welcome 215
- XVII Hot Water and a Ghost 226
THE CRUISE OF THE O MOO
A MYSTERIOUS TAPPING
Lucile Tucker stirred in her berth, opened hereyes drowsily, then half-framed a thought intoa whispered: “What was that?”
The next instant she sat bolt upright. Shehad heard it again, this time not in a dream.It was a faint rat-tat-tat, with a hollow soundto it as if beaten on the head of a barrel.
She strained her ears to catch the slightestsound but now caught only the constant lash-lashof the flag-rope as it beat the mast of theyacht, the O Moo, a sure sign of a rising storm.
She strained her eyes to peer into the darknessto the right of her; she wanted to see hertwo companions who should be sleeping thereto make sure they were still with her. Shecould not see; the shutters were tightly closedand there was no moon. The place was dark;black as soot.
She stilled her breathing to listen again, butcaught only the lash-lash of that flag-rope,accompanied now and then by the drumlikeboom of canvas. The storm was rising. Soonit would be lashing the waves into white foamto send them crashing high above the breakwaters.She shivered. A storm aboard shiphad always frightened her.
Yet now as she thought of the term, “aboardship,” she shrugged her slim shoulders. Herlips parted in a smile as she murmured:
“The cruise of the O Moo.”
Suddenly her thoughts were broken in uponby the repetition of that mysterious sound of arat-tat-tat.
“Like a yellow-hammer drumming on ahollow tree,” was her unspoken comment, “onlybirds don’t work at night. It’s like—likesomeone driving—yes, driving tacks. Onlywho could it be? And anyway, why would theydrive tacks into our yacht at midnight.”
The thought was so absurd that she dismissedit at once. Dismissing the whole problemfor the moment, she began thinking throughthe events which had led up to that moment.
She, with Marian Norton, her cousin—as youwill remember if you chance to have read theaccount of their previous adventure as recordedin the book called “The Blue Envelope”—hadspent the previous year on the shores ofBehring Straits in Alaska and Siberia. Therethey had been carried through a rather amazingseries of thrilling adventures which had notbeen without their financial advantages, especiallyto Marian.
Lucile’s father had been, when she had lefther home at Anacortes, Washington, a well-to-dosalmon fisherman. She had felt no fearof lack of money for further schooling. Thetwo girls had therefore planned to study duringthis present year, Lucile at a great universitysituated near the shore of Lake Michiganand Marion in a renowned school of art in thesame city.
But fortune plays rude tricks at times.They had returned to find that Lucile’s father’sfortune had been dissipated by an unfortunateinvestment in fish-traps for catching a run ofsock-eyed salmon, a salmon run which failed,and that Marian’s father had grub-staked a“sure-winner” gold mine which had panned outnot enough gold to pay for the miner’s “mucklucks”(skin-boots).
So Marian had given up the major portionof the money paid to her by the EthnologicalSociety for her sketches and Lucile had abandonedall hope of receiving money from herfather for a university education. They hadnot, however, given up their plans for furtherschooling.
“Have to live carefully and not spend anextra cent,” had been Marian’s way of summingup the situation. “And we can make it allright. Why, just look at the price for roomsat the university.” She referred to a cataloguein her hand. “Twenty-three dollars a term.That is less than two dollars a week. Wecould pay that. Rooms outside the universitycertainly can’t be any more—probably not asmuch.”
Lucile smiled now as she recalled this bitof crude reasoning.
They had hurried on to the university withtheir little checking accounts. They had had—
But here again Lucile started and spranghalf out of her berth. Came again that mysteriousrat-tat-tat.
“What can it be?” she whispered. “Marian!Florence! Wake up. Someone is—”
These last words, uttered in a whisper, diedon her lips. The other girls slept on. Whatwas the use of waking them? Couldn’t be anythingserious. And if it were, what could theydo at this mad hour of night? Suppose theyrouted out old Timmie, keeper of the dry dock,what could he do? It was black as jet outthere.
So she reasoned, and, having settled backbetween her blankets, began again the recallingof events.
They had arrived in the city by the lake tobe completely disillusioned. All university roomshad been reserved for months ahead. So toohad all outside rooms which might be had fora reasonable price. To pay the price demandedfor such rooms as were available had been impossible.They faced the danger of beingobliged to return to their homes, and this, tosuch girls as they were, was a calamity unthinkable.
Just at this critical moment, the O Moo hadshown her masts above the horizon. She was atrim little pleasure yacht, thoroughly equippedfor living on board. She belonged to a wealthydoctor named Holmes, a life-time friend of Lucile’sfather.
“She’s in dry dock down about two milesfrom the university,” he had told the girls.“You’re welcome to live in her for the winter.Canvas over her now but you can prop that uphere and there, I guess. Make a snug place tocamp, I’d say. Cabin’s about ten by thirty andthere’s everything you’d need, from an eggbeaterto an electric range. There’s electriclights and everything; valve-in-the-head motorsupplies ’em. Go on; live there if you want to;keep house and everything. Pretty stiff walk tothe U. But there’s the lagoon in winter, withgood skating a mile and a half of the way.What say—want to try it? Old Timmie, thekeeper of the dry dock, will see that nobodybothers you. There’s some Chinamen living ina barge out there, some fishermen in a smackand a young chap in a gasoline schooner. Guessthey are all peaceable folks, though. Might getanother girl or two to go in with you. Plentyof room. We live on board her two monthsevery summer, two families of us, six in all.”
If the girls had been captivated at once bythis novel plan, once they had climbed aboardthe yacht, they had been thrilled and delightedat the sight which met their eyes.
“She—she’s a regular little floating palace!”Lucile had stammered.
“Tut! Tut!” Mr. Holmes had remonstrated,“not quite a palace, though comfortable enough,and not floating at all, at the present moment.”
“It will be a cruise—the winter cruise of theO Moo,” Lucile had exclaimed in delight.
Had she but known how real these wordswould be to her some time hence—“The wintercruise of the O Moo”—she might have shudderedwith fear and been sorely tempted not toaccept her new home.
The power of divination was not one of hertalents, so, with Marian at her side, she had proceededto lift the heavy canvas which enshroudedthe yacht’s deck, and, having crept ...
A truly wonderful cabin it was, all done indark oak, with broad panels of green canvasalong the walls, equipped with heavy oak tablesand heavily over-stuffed chairs and lounges. Itpresented the appearance of a splendidly furnishedbut rather eccentric living room.
Here at one end the touch of a lever sent anelectric range springing up from the floor. Asecond lever lowered a partition between thissuddenly improvised kitchenette and the livingroom. Two cupboards to the right of this kitchendisplayed dishes and cooking utensils. Theopposite wall furnished a table which folded upwhen not in use. Behind this was a fullyequipped kitchen cabinet.
“Convenient when in use, out of the waywhen not needed,” had been the doctor’s onlycomment.
This kitchen was forward. Aft were to befound four double berths. Modeled after theupper berths of a Pullman sleeper, these gavethe maximum of comfort and when folded upoccupied no space at all.
“It’s wonderful!” had been the most the girlscould say. “And, oh! Doctor Holmes, we’ll payyou rent for it. You surely must allow us to dothat,” Marian had exclaimed.
“Nonsense!” the good doctor had exclaimed.“Worked my way through school myself. Knowwhat it means. All I ask is that you pass thegood work on to some other fellow who needsa boost when you are through with school andmaking money.”
So here they were, and had been for twomonths, all comfortably established in the cabinof the O Moo.
Dr. Holmes had suggested that they might beable to accommodate another girl. They hadbecome acquainted with Florence Huyler, afreshman in the physical culture department,and had decided at once that she was just thegirl to join them.
Florence had not waited for a second invitationand here she was sleeping in the berth toLucile’s right. Just why she should have seemedmost fitting as a companion for such an adventureI can best tell you as events progress.
The long hike back and forth to the universityand the art school had been a bit tiring at first,but in time they had come to enjoy it. Thenwinter had come and with it ice on the lagoon.Only yesterday they had had their first wonderfulrace over its shining surface. Her recollectionscame slower and slower and she was aboutto drift off into a dream when there came againthat strange rat-tat-tat.
Once more she sat bolt upright to peer intothe darkness; once more she asked herself thequestions: “What can it be? Should I wakenMarian and Florence?”
She did not waken them. To do so wouldseem, she thought, a trifle silly. The yachtstood upon a car with iron wheels which restedon a track raised five feet above the ground bya stout trestle work. The sides of the yachttowered above this trestle. Altogether the deckof the yacht was fully twenty feet from theground. They ascended and descended bymeans of a rope ladder. This ladder, at thepresent moment, lay on the deck. No one couldenter their cabin unless he were possessed of aladder and any person attempting this would atonce be detected and might be arrested for it,so why be afraid?
But, after all, that sound was puzzling. Shewanted to know what it meant. For some timeshe contemplated slipping on her dressing-gownto creep out on deck and peer over the side. Butthe wind