Cap'n Abe, Storekeeper eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 210 pages of information about Cap'n Abe, Storekeeper.

“And you don’t want to,” declared the narrator of the incident.  “It ain’t a place into which no sailorman wants to venture.  The Mailfast’s comp’ny—­so ’tis said—­was driven far into the pulpy, grassy sea.  The miles of weed wrapped ’em around like a blanket.  They couldn’t row because the weed fouled the oars; and they couldn’t sail ’cause the weed was so heavy.  But there’s a drift they say, or a suction, or something that gradually draws a boat toward the middle of the field.”

“Then, by golly!” exclaimed Milt Baker, “how in tarnation did they git aout?  I sh’d think anybody that every drifted into the Sargasso Sea would be there yit.”

“P’r’aps many a ship an’ many a ship’s company have found their grave there,” said Cap’n Amazon solemnly. “’Tis called the graveyard of derelicts.  But there’s the chance of counter-storms.  Before the two boats from the Mailfast were sucked down, and ’fore the crew was fair starved, a sudden shift of wind broke up the seaweed field and they escaped and were picked up.

“The danger of the Sargasso threatens all sailin’ ships in them seas.  Steam vessels have a better chance; but many a craft that’s turned up missin’ has undoubtedly been swallowed by the Sargasso.”

Louise, who heard this discussion from the doorway of the store, could not fail to be impressed by it.  Could the Curlew, with her father and Cap’n Abe aboard, have suffered such a fate?  There was an element of probability in this tale of Cap’n Amazon’s that entangled the girl’s fancy.  However, the idea colored the old man’s further imagination in another way.

“Sargasso Sea,” he said reflectively, between puffs of his pipe, after the idlers had left the store.  “Yes, ’tis a fact, Niece Louise.  That’s what Abe drifted in for years—­a mort of seaweed and pulp.”

“What do you mean, Uncle Amazon?” gasped the girl, shocked by his words.

“This,” the master mariner said, with a wide sweep of his arm taking in the cluttered store.  “This was Abe’s Sargasso Sea—­and it come nigh to smotherin’ him and bearin’ him down by the head.”

“Oh! you mean his life was so confined here?”

Cap’n Amazon nodded, “I wonder he bore it so long.”

“I am afraid Uncle Abram is getting all he wants of adventure now,” Louise said doubtfully.

Cap’n Amazon stared at her unwinkingly for a minute.  Then all he said was: 

“I wonder?”

CHAPTER XXV

AUNT EUPHEMIA MAKES A POINT

Lawford Tapp did not appear at the store and Louise continued to wonder about it; but she shrank from asking Betty Gallup, who might have been able to inform her why the young man did not come again.  However, on one bright morning the gray roadster stopped before the door and Louise, from her window, saw that the three Tapp girls were in the car.

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Cap'n Abe, Storekeeper from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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