Ford could hardly feel that very strongly, but he was determined not to let Dab see it; and he made an effort at the calmness of a Mohawk, as he said, “How about fishing?”
“Guess we won’t bother ’em much, but you might go for a bluefish. Sometimes they have great luck with them, right along here.”
SPLENDID FISHING, AND A BIG FOG.
There is no telling how many anxious people there may have been in that region that night, a little after supper; but there was no doubt of the state of mind in at least three family circles.
Good Mrs. Foster could not endure to stay at home and talk about the matter; and her husband and Annie were very willing to go over to the Kinzers’ with her, and listen to the encouraging views of Dabney’s stout-hearted and sensible mother.
They were welcomed heartily; and the conversation began, so to speak, right in the middle.
“Oh, Mrs. Kinzer! do you think they are in any danger?”
“I hope not. I don’t see why there need be, unless they try to return across the bay against this wind.”
“But don’t you think they’ll try? Do you mean they won’t be home to-night?” exclaimed Mr. Foster himself.
“I sincerely hope not,” said the widow calmly. “I should hardly feel like trusting Dabney out in the boat again, if he should do so foolish a thing.”
“But where can he stay?”
“At anchor somewhere, or on the island; almost anywhere but tacking all night on the bay. He’d be really safer out at sea than trying to get home.”
“Out at sea!”
There was something really dreadful in the very idea of it; and Annie Foster turned pale enough when she thought of the gay little yacht, and her brother out on the broad Atlantic in it, with no better crew than Dab Kinzer and Dick Lee. Samantha and her sisters were hardly as steady about it as their mother; but they were careful to conceal their misgivings from their neighbors, which was very kindly indeed in the circumstances.
There was little use in trying to think or talk of any thing else beside the boys, however, with the sound of the “high wind” in the trees out by the roadside; and a very anxious circle was that, up to the late hour at which the members of it separated for the night.
But there were other troubled hearts in that vicinity. Old Bill Lee himself had been out fishing all day, with very poor luck; but he forgot all about that, when he learned, on reaching the shore, that Dick and his white friends had not returned. He even pulled back to the mouth of the inlet, to see if the gathering darkness would give him any signs of his boy. He did not know it; but while he was gone Dick’s mother, after discussing her anxieties with some of her dark-skinned neighbors, half weepingly unlocked her one “clothes-press,” and took out the suit which had been the pride of her absent son. She had never admired them half so much before, but they seemed now to need a red necktie to set them off; and so the gorgeous result of Dick’s fishing and trading came out of its hiding-place, and was arranged on the white coverlet of her own bed, with the rest of his best garments.