He was strongly assured that his young white associates were in sober earnest about both their purpose and their promise; and, after that, he insisted on rowing all the distance home.
On the way the old punt was taken in tow; but the tide had already swept it so far inside the mouth of the inlet, that there was less trouble in pulling it the rest of the way. It was hardly worth the labor, but Dab knew what a tempest the loss of it might bring around the ears of poor Dick.
When they reached the landing, and began to over-haul their very brilliant “catch,” Dabney said,—
“Now, Dick, take your string home, leave that basket of crabs at Mr. Foster’s, and then come back with the basket, and carry the rest of ’em to our house. Ford and I’ll see to the rest of the fish.”
“I haven’t caught half as many as you have, either of you,” said Ford, when he saw with what even-handed justice the fish were divided in three piles, as they were scooped out of the fish-car.
“What of that?” replied Dab. “We follow fishermen’s rules, down this way. Share and share alike, you know. All the luck is outside the boat, they say. Once the fish are landed, your luck’s as good as mine.”
“Do they always follow that rule?”
“The man that broke it wouldn’t find company very easily, hereabouts, next time he wanted to go a-fishing. No, nor for any thing else. Nobody’d boat with him.”
“Well, if it’s the regular thing,” said Ford hesitatingly. “But I’ll tell who really caught ’em.”
“Oh, some of yours are right good ones! Your string’d look big enough, some days, just as you caught ’em.”
“Yes, it would. Don’t you imagine we can pull ’em in every time like we did this morning,—crabs nor fish.”
“No, I s’pose not. Anyhow, I’ve learned some things.”
“I guess likely. We’ll go for some more next week. Now for a tug.”
“Ain’t they heavy, though!”
The boat had already been made fast; and the two boys picked up their strings of fish, two for each, after Dick Lee had started for home; and heavy things they were to carry under that hot sun.
“Come and show the whole lot to my mother,” said Ford, “before you take yours into the house. I’d like to have her see them all.”
“All right,” replied Dab, but he little dreamed what was coming; for, when he and Ford marched proudly into the sitting-room with their finny prizes, Dabney found himself face to face with, not good, sweet-voiced Mrs. Foster, but, as he thought, the most beautiful young lady he had ever seen.
Ford Foster shouted, “Annie! You here? Well, I never!”
But Dab Kinzer wished all those fish safely back again swimming in the bay.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT KINDS OF BOYS.
Ham Morris was a thoughtful and kind-hearted fellow, beyond a doubt; and he was likely to be a valuable friend for a growing boy like Dab Kinzer. It is not everybody’s brother-in-law who would find time during his wedding-trip to hunt up even so pretty a New-England village as Grantley, and inquire into questions of board and lodging and schooling.