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The Widow’s Bandbox
by [?]

“Wal, you see, the cap’n he kind o’ hated to do it; and he hemmed and hawed, and he tried to ‘pologize. He said ’twas a government vessel, and he didn’t know as he had a right to use it. He said sailors was apt to be superstitious; and he didn’t want ’em to know as there was a corpse on board.

“‘Wal,’ says she, ‘why need they know? ‘For, you see, she was up to every dodge; and she said she’d come along with it at dusk, in a box, and have it just carried to a state-room, and he needn’t tell nobody what it was.

“Wal, Cap’n Tucker he hung off; and he tried his best to persuade her to have a funeral, all quiet, there at Camden. He promised to get a minister, and ‘tend to it, and wait a day till it was all over, and then take her on to Boston free gratis. But ’twas all no go. She wouldn’t hear a word to ‘t. And she reeled off the talk to him by the yard. And, when talk failed, she took to her water-works again, till finally the cap’n said his resolution was clean washed away, and he jest give up hook and line; and so ’twas all settled and arranged, that, when evening come, she was to be alongside with her boat, and took aboard.

“When she come out o’ the cap’n’s room to go off, I see Tom Toothacre a watchin’ on her. He stood there by the railin’s a shavin’ up a plug o’ baccy to put in his pipe. He didn’t say a word; but he sort o’ took the measure o’ that ‘are woman with his eye, and kept a follerin’ on her.

“She had a fine sort o’ lively look, carried her head up and shoulders back, and stepped as if she had steel springs in her heels.

“‘Wal, Tom, what do ye say to her?’ says Ben Bowdin.

“‘I don’t say nothin’,’ says Tom, and he lit his pipe; ’tain’t my busness,’ says he.

“‘Wal, what do you think?‘ says Ben. Tom gin a hist to his trousers.

“‘My thoughts is my own,’ says he; ‘and I calculate to keep ’em to myself,’ says he. And then he jest walked to the side of the vessel, and watched the woman a gettin’ ashore. There was a queer kind o’ look in Tom’s eye.

“Wal, the cap’n he was drefful sort o’ oneasy arter she was gone. He had a long talk in the cabin with Mr. More, the fust officer; and there was a sort o’ stir aboard as if somethin’ was a goin’ to happen, we couldn’t jest say what it was.

“Sometimes it seems as if, when things is goin’ to happen, a body kind o’ feels ’em comin’ in the air. We boys was all that way: o’ course we didn’t know nothin’ ’bout what the woman wanted, or what she come for, or whether she was comin’ agin; ‘n fact, we didn’t know nothin’ about it, and yet we sort o’ expected suthin’ to come o’ it; and suthin’ did come, sure enough.

“Come on night, jest at dusk, we see a boat comin’ alongside; and there, sure enough, was the lady in it.

“‘There, she’s comin’ agin,’ says I to Tom Tooth-acre.

“‘Yes, and brought her baggage with her,’ says Tom; and he p’inted down to a long, narrow pine box that was in the boat beside her.

“Jest then the cap’n called on Mr. More, and he called on Tom Toothacre; and among ’em they lowered a tackle, and swung the box aboard, and put it in the state-room right alongside the cap’n’s cabin.

“The lady she thanked the cap’n and Mr. More, and her voice was jest as sweet as any nightingale; and she went into the state-room arter they put the body in, and was gone ever so long with it. The cap’n and Mr. More they stood a whisperin’ to each other, and every once in a while they’d kind o’ nod at the door where the lady was.