Yes, in those rooms, of which the windows fronted him, there they lay, all his schoolfellows—Montagu, and Wildney, and Duncan, and all whom he cared for best. And there was Mr. Rose’s light still burning in the library window; and he was leaving the school and those who had been with him there so long, in the dark night, by stealth, penniless and broken-hearted, with the shameful character of a thief.
Suddenly Mr. Rose’s light moved, and, fearing discovery or interception, he roused himself from the bitter reverie and fled to Starhaven through the darkness. There was still a light in the little sailors’ tavern; and, entering, he asked the woman who kept it, “if she knew of any ship which was going to sail next morning?”
“Why, your’n is, bean’t it, Maister Davey!” she asked, turning to a rough-looking sailor, who sat smoking in the bar.
“Ees,” grunted the man.
“Will you take me on board?” said Eric.
“You be a runaway, I’m thinking?”
“Never mind. I’ll come as cabin-boy—anything.”
The sailor glanced at his striking appearance and neat dress. “Hardly in the cabun-buoy line I should say.”
“Will you take me?” said Eric. “You’ll find me strong and willing enough.”
“Well—if the skipper don’t say no. Come along.”
They went down to a boat, and “Maister Davey” rowed to a schooner in the harbor, and took Eric on board.
“There,” he said, “you may sleep there for to-night,” and he pointed to a great heap of sailcloth beside the mast.
Weary to death, Eric flung himself down, and slept deep and sound till the morning, on board the “Stormy Petrel.”
THE STORMY PETREL
“They hadna sailed
a league, a league,
A league, but barely three,
When the lift grew dark, and the wind grew high,
And gurly grew the sea.”
SIR PATRICK SPENS.
“Hilloa!” exclaimed the skipper with a sudden start, next morning, as he saw Eric’s recumbent figure on the ratlin-stuff, “Who be this young varmint!”
“Oh, I brought him aboord last night,” said Davey; “he wanted to be cabun-buoy.”
“Precious like un he looks. Never mind, we’ve got him and we’ll use him.”