Keeping Watch eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 16 pages of information about Keeping Watch.

“‘You sur-prise me,’ I ses, meaning to be sarcastic.

“‘I surprised her,’ he ses, looking very fierce.  ’I went to ’er box and I found a pile of ’em-a pile of ’em-tied up with a piece o’ pink ribbon.  And a photygraph of my lord.  And of all the narrer-chested, weak-eyed, slack-baked, spindly-legged sons of a gun you ever saw in your life, he is the worst.  If I on’y get my ’ands on him I’ll choke ’im with his own feet.’

“He washed ‘is mouth out with a drop o’ beer and stood scowling at the floor.

“’Arter I’ve choked ‘im I’ll twist his neck,’ he ses.  ’If he ’ad on’y put his address on ’is letters, I’d go round and do it now.  And my daughter, my only daughter, won’t tell me where he lives.’

“‘She ought to know better,’ I ses.

“He took hold o’ my ’and and shook it.  ’You’ve got more sense than one ‘ud think to look at you, Bill,’ he ses, not thinking wot he was saying.  ‘You see wot a mess I’m in.’

“‘Yes,’ I ses.

“‘I’m a nurse, that’s wot I am,’ he ses, very savage.  ’Just a nursemaid.  I can’t move ’and or foot without that gal.  ’Ow’d you like it, yourself, Bill?’

“‘It must be very orkard for you,’ I ses.  ‘Very orkard indeed.’

“‘Orkard !’ he ses; ’it’s no name for it, Bill.  I might as well be a Sunday-school teacher, and ha’ done with it.  I never ’ad such a dull time in all my life.  Never.  And the worst of it is, it’s spiling my temper.  And all because o’ that narrer-eyed, red-chested—­you know wot I mean!’

“He took another mouthful o’ beer, and then he took ’old of my arm.  ‘Bill,’ he ses, very earnest, ‘I want you to do me a favour.’

“‘Go ahead,’ I ses.

“‘I’ve got to meet a pal at Charing Cross at ha’-past seven,’ he ses; ‘and we’re going to make a night of it.  I’ve left Winnie in charge o’ the cook, and I’ve told ’im plain that, if she ain’t there when I come back, I’ll skin ’im alive.  Now, I want you to watch ’er, too.  Keep the gate locked, and don’t let anybody in you don’t know.  Especially that monkey-faced imitation of a man.  Here ‘e is.  That’s his likeness.’

“He pulled a photygraph out of ’is coatpocket and ’anded it to me.

“’That’s ‘im,’ he ses.  ’Fancy a gal getting love-letters from a thing like that!  And she was on’y twenty last birthday.  Keep your eye on ’er, Bill, and don’t let ‘er out of your sight.  You’re worth two o’ the cook.’

“He finished ’is beer, and, cuddling my arm, stepped back to the wharf.  Miss Butt was sitting on the cabin skylight reading a book, and old Joe, the cook, was standing near ’er pretending to swab the decks with a mop.

“‘I’ve got to go out for a little while—­on business,’ ses the skipper.  ’I don’t s’pose I shall be long, and, while I’m away, Bill and the cook will look arter you.’

“Miss Butt wrinkled up ’er shoulders.

“’The gate’ll be locked, and you’re not to leave the wharf.  D’ye ‘ear?’

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Keeping Watch from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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