The water was perfectly smooth; but the boat was full in an instant, and nearly a bushel of freshly-caught and ill-tempered crabs were manoeuvring in all directions around the woolly head, which was all their late captor could now keep in sight.
“Up with the grapnel, Ford,” shouted Dab. “Take an oar: we’ll both row. He can swim like a duck, but he might split his throat.”
“Or get scared to death.”
“Or those crabs might go for him, and eat him up.”
“How he does yell!”
A VERY ACCIDENTAL CALL.
At the very moment when the angry crab closed his nippers on the bare big toe of Dick Lee, and his shrill note of discomfort rang across the inlet, the shriller whistle of the engine announced the arrival of the morning train from the city, at the little station in the village.
A moment or so later, a very pretty young lady was standing beside a trunk on the platform, trying to get some information from the flagman.
“Can you tell me where Mr. Foster lives?”
“That’s the gimlet-eyed lawyer from New Yark?”
“Yes, he’s from New York,” said the young lady, smiling in his face. “Where does he live?”
“He’s got the sassiest boy, thin. Is it him as took the Kinzer house?”
“I think likely it is. Can you tell me how to get there?”
“Thim Kinzers is foine people. The widdy married one of the gurrels to Misther Morris.”
“But how can I get to the house?”
“Is it there ye’re afther goin’?—Hey, Michael, me boy, bring up yer owld rattlethrap, and take the leddy’s thrunk. She’ll be goin’ to the Kinzer place. Sharp, now.”
“I should say it was,” muttered the young lady, as the remains of what had been a carryall were pulled up beside the platform by the skinny skeleton of what might once have been a horse. “It’s a rattletrap.”
There was no choice, however; for that was the only public conveyance at the station, and the trunk was already whisked in behind the dashboard, and the driver was waiting for her.
He could afford to wait, as it would be some hours before another train would be in.
There was no door to open in that “carriage.” It was all door except the top and bottom, and the pretty passenger was neither helped nor hindered in finding her place on the back seat.
If the flagman was more disposed to ask questions than to answer them, Michael said few words of any kind except to his horse. To him, indeed, he kept up a constant stream of encouraging remarks, the greatest part of which would have been difficult for an ordinary hearer to understand.
Very likely the horse knew what they meant; for he came very near breaking from a limp into a trot several times, under the stimulus of all that clucking and “G’lang, now!”
The distance was by no means great, and Michael seemed to know the way perfectly. At least he answered, “Yes’m, indade,” to several inquiries from his passenger, and she was compelled to be satisfied with that.