**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


by [?]

As he spoke the girl came on deck, and, seeing the two men talking together, remained at a short distance from them.

“It’s all right, Jane,” said the mate; “I’ve told him.”

“Oh!” said Miss Cooper, with a little gasp.

“I can’t bear deceit,” said the mate; “and now it’s off his mind, he’s so happy he can’t bear himself.”

The latter part of this assertion seemed to be more warranted by facts than the former, but Evans made a choking noise, which he intended as a sign of unbearable joy, and, relinquishing the wheel to the mate, walked forward. The clear sky was thick with stars, and a mind at ease might have found enjoyment in the quiet beauty of the night, but the skipper was too interested in the behaviour of the young couple at the wheel to give it a thought. Immersed in each other, they forgot him entirely, and exchanged little playful slaps and pushes, which incensed him beyond description. Several times he was on the point of exercising his position as commander and ordering the mate below, but in the circumstances interference was impossible, and, with a low-voiced good- night, he went below. Here his gaze fell on William Henry, who was slumbering peacefully, and, with a hazy idea of the eternal fitness of things, he raised the youth in his arms, and, despite his sleepy protests, deposited him in the mate’s bunk. Then, with head and heart both aching, he retired for the night.

There was a little embarrassment next day, but it soon passed off, and the three adult inmates of the cabin got on quite easy terms with each other. The most worried person aft was the boy, who had not been taken into their confidence, and whose face, when his sister sat with the mate’s arm around her waist, presented to the skipper a perfect study in emotions.

“I feel quite curious to see this Miss Jones,” said Miss Cooper amiably, as they sat at dinner.

“She’ll be on the quay, waving her handkerchief to him,” said the mate. “We’ll be in to-morrow afternoon, and then you’ll see her.”

As it happened, the mate was a few hours out in his reckoning, for by the time the Falcon’s bows were laid for the small harbour it was quite dark, and the little schooner glided in, guided by the two lights which marked the entrance. The quay, seen in the light of a few scattered lamps, looked dreary enough, and, except for two or three indistinct figures, appeared to be deserted. Beyond, the broken lights of the town stood out more clearly as the schooner crept slowly over the dark water towards her berth.

“Fine night, cap’n,” said the watchman, as the schooner came gently alongside the quay.

The skipper grunted assent. He was peering anxiously at the quay.

“It’s too late,” said the mate. “You couldn’t expect her this time o’night. It’s ten o’clock.”

“I’ll go over in the morning,” said Evans, who, now that things had been adjusted, was secretly disappointed that Miss Cooper had not witnessed the meeting. “If you’re not going ashore, we might have a hand o’ cards as soon’s we’re made fast.”

The mate assenting, they went below, and were soon deep in the mysteries of three-hand cribbage. Evans, who was a good player, surpassed himself, and had just won the first game, the others being nowhere, when a head was thrust down the companion-way, and a voice like a strained foghorn called the captain by name.

“Ay, ay!” yelled Evans, laying down his hand.

“I’ll come down, cap’n,” said the voice, and the mate just had time to whisper “Old Jones” to Miss Cooper, when a man of mighty bulk filled up the doorway of the little cabin, and extended a huge paw to Evans and the mate. He then looked at the lady, and, breathing hard, waited.

“Young lady o’ the mate’s,” said Evans breathlessly,–“Miss Cooper. Sit down, cap’n. Get the gin out, Bill.”