“I am very sorry, mother, but I must have something to eat; and since you won’t give me the key, why—” observed Newton, giving the handle of the chisel a smart blow with the hammer—
“Here’s the key, sir,” cried Mrs Forster, with indignation, throwing it on the table, and bouncing out of the room.
A smile was exchanged between the father and son, as she went backwards, screaming, “Betty—I say, Betty, you idle slut, where are you?” as if determined to vent her spleen upon somebody.
“Have you dined, father?” inquired Newton, who had now placed the contents of the cupboard upon the table.
“Why, I really don’t quite recollect; but I feel very hungry,” replied the optician, putting in his plate to receive two large slices; and father and son sat down to a hearty meal, proving the truth of the wise man’s observation, that, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than the stalled ox and hatred therewith.”
’Tis wondrous heavy. Wrench it open straight.
If the sea’s stomach be o’ercharged with gold,
It is a good constraint of fortune, that
It belches on us.”
About three weeks after the events narrated in the preceding chapter, Newton Forster sailed in his vessel with a cargo to be delivered at the seaport of Waterford. The master of her was immoderately addicted to liquor; and during the time that he remained in port, seldom was to be found in a state of perfect sobriety, even on a Sunday. But, to do him justice, when his vessel was declared ready for sea, he abstained from his usual indulgence, that he might be enabled to take charge of the property committed to his care, and find his way to his destined port. It was a point on which his interest overcame, for a time, his darling propensity: and his rigid adherence to sobriety, when afloat, was so well ascertained, that his character as a trustworthy seaman was not injured by his continual intemperance when in harbour. Latterly, however, since Newton had sailed with him, he had not acted up to his important resolution. He found that the vessel was as safe under the charge of Forster as under his own; and having taken great pains to instruct him in seamanship, and make him well acquainted with the dangers of the coast, he thought that, as Newton was fully equal to the charge of the vessel, he might as well indulge himself with an occasional glass or two, to while away the tedium of embarkation. A stone pitcher of liquor was now his constant attendant when he pulled on board to weigh his anchor; which said pitcher, for fear of accidents, he carried down into the cabin himself. As soon as sail was on the vessel, and her course shaped, he followed his darling companion down into the cabin, and until the contents were exhausted was never sufficiently sober to make his appearance on deck; so that Newton Forster was, in fact, the responsible master of the vessel.