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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 376 pages of information about The Adventures of Captain Horn.

CHAPTER XLIII

MOK AS A VOCALIST

It would have been very comfortable to the mind of Edna, during her waiting days in Paris, had she known there was a letter to her from Captain Horn, in a cottage in the town of Sidmouth, on the south coast of Devonshire.  Had she known this, she would have chartered French trains, Channel steamers, English trains, flies, anything and everything which would have taken her the quickest to the little town of Sidmouth.  Had she known that he had written to her the first chance he had had, all her doubts and perplexities would have vanished in an instant.  Had she read the letter, she might have been pained to find that it was not such a letter as she would wish to have, and she might have grieved that it might still be a long time before she could expect to hear from him again, or to see him, but she would have waited—­have waited patiently, without any doubts or perplexities.

This letter, with a silver coin,—­much more than enough to pay any possible postage,—­had been handed by Shirley to the first mate of the British steamer, in the harbor of Valparaiso, and that officer had given it to a seaman, who was going on shore, with directions to take it to the post-office, and pay for the postage out of the silver coin, and whatever change there might be, he should keep it for his trouble.  On the way to the post-office, this sailor stopped to refresh himself, and meeting with a fellow-mariner in the place of refreshment, he refreshed him also.  And by the time the two had refreshed themselves to their satisfaction, there was not much left of the silver coin—­not enough to pay the necessary postage to France.

“But,” said the seaman to himself, “it doesn’t matter a bit.  We are bound for Liverpool, and I’ll take the letter there myself, and then I’ll send it over to Paris for tuppence ha’penny, which I will have then, and haven’t now.  And I bet another tuppence that it will go sooner than if I posted it here, for it may be a month before a mail-steamer leaves the other side of this beastly continent.  Anyway, I’m doing the best I can.”

He put the letter in the pocket of his pea-jacket, and the bottom of that pocket being ripped, the letter went down between the outside cloth and the lining of the pea-jacket to the very bottom of the garment, where it remained until the aforesaid seaman had reached England, and had gone down to see his family, who lived in the cottage in Sidmouth.  And there he had hung up his pea-jacket on a nail, in a little room next to the kitchen, and there his mother had found it, and sewed on two buttons, and sewed up the rips in the bottoms of two pockets.  Shortly after this, the sailor, happening to pass a post-office box, remembered the letter he had brought to England.  He went to his pea-jacket and searched it, but could find no letter.  He must have lost it—­he hoped after he had reached England, and no doubt whoever found it would put a tuppence ha’penny stamp on it and stick it into a box.  Anyway, he had done all he could.

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