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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about Dab Kinzer.

“Ever so many wrecks,” said Dab, “and they keep a sharp lookout.  There used to be more before there were so many light-houses.  It was a bad place to go ashore in, too,—­almost as bad as Jersey.”

“Why?”

“Well, the coast itself is mean enough, for shoals and surf; and then there were the wreckers.”

“Oh!  I understand,” said Ford.  “Not the Government men.”

“No, the old sort.  It was a bad enough piece of luck to be driven in on that bar, or another like it; but the wreckers made it as much worse as they knew how to.”

They were all listening now, even his sisters; and Dabney launched out into a somewhat highly-colored description of the terrors of the Long-Island “south shore,” in old times and new, and of the character and deeds of the men who were formerly the first to find out if any thing or anybody had been driven ashore.

“What a prize to them that French steamer would have been!” said Annie; “the one you and Ford took Frank from.”

“No, she wouldn’t.  Why, she wasn’t wrecked at all.  She only stuck her nose in the sand, and lay still till the tugs came and pulled her off.  That isn’t a wreck.  A wreck is where the ship is knocked to pieces, and people are drowned, and all that sort of thing.  The crew can’t help themselves, after that.  Then, you see, the wreckers have a notion that every thing that comes ashore belongs to them.  Why, I’ve heard some of our old fishermen—­best kind of men too—­talk of how Government has robbed them of their rights.”

“By the new system?” said Annie.

“Well, first by having wrecks prevented, and then by having all property kept for the owners.”

“Isn’t that strange!  Did you say they were good men?”

“Some of ’em.  Honest as the day is long about every thing else.  But they weren’t all so.  There was old Peter, now, and he lives on the island yet.  There’s his cabin.  You can just see it sticking out of the edge of that big sand-hill.”

“What a queer thing it is!”

“Queer?  I guess you’d say so, if you could have a look at the things he’s picked up along shore, and stowed inside of it.  There isn’t but just room for him to cook and sleep in.”

“Is he a fisherman too?”

“Why, that’s his trade.  Sometimes the storms drift the sand high all over that cabin, and old Pete has to dig it out again.  He gets snowed under two or three times every winter.”

Annie Foster, and probably some of the others, were getting new ideas concerning the sea-coast and its inhabitants, every minute; and she felt a good deal like Dick Lee,—­she “wouldn’t have missed that trip for any thing.”

They were now coasting along the island, at no great distance; and, although it was not nearly noon, Dabney heard Joe Hart say to his brother,—­

“Never was so hungry in all my life.  Glad they did lay in a good stock of provisions.”

“So am I,” returned Fuz; and he added in a whisper,

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