“Three years ago, do you remember it, Sampson, when I was a mere stripling, you took me aside, and pointed out a dim light, away down to the water’s edge, and told me I would have seen different days before I made it again? Do you think I can ever forget it? I could tell its light from among a thousand! As I caught its last rays then, it seemed to me the pensive, forgiving smile of my mother, for, as you know, I came away from home without my mother’s consent; but I long ago received her forgiveness, and everything will be forgotten in the happiness which we shall enjoy at meeting once more. And my father, he is at home by this time! How surprised they will all be to see me grown almost to be a man! I hope the Sea-flower is the same little fairy still. She will not always be a bud, however; yet the opening flower has greater charms.”
“Bless my stars! boy, are you losing your senses?” asked the astonished Sampson, as Harry walked the deck in raptures, talking as fast as his tongue could fly, as it appeared to the old tar, in riddles.
“What’s got into your head, boy? I have always taken you to be the most sensible person aboard, but shiver my topsails, if the fellow don’t talk as if he expected to find old Vineyard Sound turned into a flower garden, with a fairy made fast to every other blossom!”
As Sampson delivered himself of this ludicrous remark, Harry burst into a loud fit of laughter, and handing the tar his glass, he sang out “Sankoty light, ahoy!” which brought all hands on deck in an instant, rubbing open their eyes, (for it was but the second watch in the morning,) to catch sight of the first object visible of their homes.
“Three cheers for old Nantucket, and young Grosvenor!” shouted the captain; and the ready huzza which went up, amid the waving of sundry flannel shirts, old boots, and forsaken tarpaulins, which had been caught up by the unshorn tars, as the sound of their near proximity to home aroused them from the dreamy visions thereof to the vivid realities, were borne over the waters which separated them from thence, deceiving the red-combed heralds of the day into the belief of an early dawn, judging from the signs of recognition which met their approach, as the first tinge of red lit up the eastern sky.
Nobly the good ship Nautilus bore down to the bar, setting heavily on the water, and the good twenty-five hundred with which she was laden, was no less weighty than the handfuls of silver which danced o’er the minds of the glad sailor boys, as they neared their native shore. None were more light-hearted at the prospect before them than Harry Grosvenor; not that he had become weary of the sailor’s life, for he loved the ocean with the same free, wild love as when three years before, it had beckoned his boyish heart to brave its perils; but his joy, as the endeared objects of his home, one by one, welcomed him in his fancy, was unbounded, and he could not realize that he should so soon greet the dear ones who had been the subjects of his most precious thoughts, through the many days which had separated them.